Hand Day: Atlanta

Source: Blog Post

Today is Hand Day Atlanta! As the very first location to participate in The Touching Hand Project's Hand Day in 2016, this is the second year that the staff at Georgia Hand Shoulder and Elbow (GHSE) has volunteered to help members of their community by providing free hand surgery.

In preparation for today, Drs. Houston Payne, John Seiler, Robert Howell, Randall Alexander, John Dalton, and McMillan Starr screened around 50 patients in recent months, 16 of which were a great fit for Hand Day. They scheduled 14 cases for today! Two didn't fit on the schedule and were completed yesterday by Dr. Starr.

Not only did many of the GHSE staff members volunteer to help today, but individuals from other hospitals and agencies did as well! Here's the volunteer therapy team on the fourth floor:

The patients helped today by GHSE were incredibly grateful. These individuals do not have insurance and have been living with hand pain for months, sometimes years.

This is Thomas, a local construction worker whose right hand was crushed by a cement block three years ago.

As a result, Thomas has not had fully functioning fingers on his right hand for years. In December 2016, Thomas had a saw accident at work and nearly cut his left hand off, suffering from extensive nerve and tendon damage. He believes that his disabled right hand caused this accident.

Dr. Seiler was able to perform surgery on his left hand this year, and it is healing slowly. But today, Thomas is finally getting the surgery he needs for his right hand, the hand he believes almost caused him to lose his left hand. Because of his injuries, Thomas is unable to work right now, but he said he's looking forward to going back to work (accident-free). Thanks to Dr. Seiler and the team at GHSE, he will have functioning hands again soon. 

Today, the spirit among the volunteers is incredibly jovial! Everyone is happy and excited to be here. Here's GHSE staff member Troy helping Michael get to the waiting room, where his mother was waiting. Michael has painful arthritis in both hands and hasn't been able to work his construction job. He was so grateful to receive care and plans to return to work once he has recovered.

One final story we want to share with you is the story of Kelly, a woman who received free hand surgery during Hand Day in 2016! Kelly bonded with Dr. Payne and the GHSE staff, so she returned today, one year later, to volunteer.

When Kelly hurt her wrist in June of 2016, she was in a cast for 2 months, but her fracture didn't heal. She was working as a server at a local restaurant, mostly using one hand, and happened to wait on Dr. Payne. He inquired about her cast, and the rest is history! She received free surgery on her wrist during Hand Day 2016. Now, she's back to work as server, using both hands. The staff today had her directing traffic outside the clinic! Kelly told us that without Hand Day, she would still be saving money for a surgery.

Today was a successful day of helping the residents in and around Atlanta. Without the volunteer efforts of the team, many of these patients would be living with their injuries. Everyone at GHSE is excited to host their third Hand Day in 2018!