Hand Day: Nashville

Source: Blog Post

More than 40 Vanderbilt University Medical Center employees gathered on August 5, 2017 for the inaugural Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Outreach Day. This event was in conjunction with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand’s Touching Hand Project (THP) and was the second domestic THP outreach. The outreach day was planned by Dr. Donald H. Lee, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, and Diane Hickerson, R.N., Clinical Staff Leader at Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Surgery Center. The volunteers included valet attendants, patient care partners, clinical registered nurse anesthetists, scrub technicians, nurses, Spanish interpreters, attending physicians, the hand and upper extremity fellow, resident physicians and medical students.

Dr. Lee and Dr. Mihir J. Desai, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation performed the surgeries and Dr. Eric Briggs, Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology provided anesthesia services.  

Nine uninsured patients received free surgeries, including trigger finger release, carpal tunnel release, ganglion cyst excision and ulnar nerve transposition.  The patients were referred and evaluated by Shade Tree Clinic, Vanderbilt’s student run free clinic. Shade Tree Clinic provides medical care for about 400 of Nashville’s uninsured residents, many with very complex and difficult social situations. 

All patients were extremely grateful and appreciative of this unique opportunity to receive free treatment for their various upper extremity conditions. 

While the patients undoubtedly benefited from the outreach, the Vanderbilt staff also tremendously valued this opportunity to give back to the Nashville community. Regardless of their roles in the outreach day, all staff members seemed to thrive in the team based, collaborative mindset of the day. All volunteers felt the pride and satisfaction of providing service to these patients. Although some staff members had previously participated in international medical outreach projects, many expressed their gratitude and enthusiasm for providing a much-needed service to the local community. 

We are grateful to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Touching Hands Project and Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the support for this inaugural event and look forward to planning similar outreaches in the future!