Rehab Network Team Changes Lives in Peru

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Subramani Seetharama, MD, Medical Director of Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network traveled with therapists Sharon Nicoll, OTA, Ken Bruno, MSPT, CSCS, as well as Eric Smullen, PT, Executive Director of Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, and Andrew Wakefield, MD, traveled to Peru in April to improve the quality of life and bring about sustainable change for the medically underserved population of Lima.

The trip to provide prosthetic and rehabilitative services was sponsored by organization called “Dreaming and Working Together.”

Each year, a volunteer team of medical experts from the U.S. heads to Lima, Peru for a week-long mission to educate, collaborate and empower local health care providers to attend to the needs of the disabled and undeserved population.

But the work begins months before. In Peru, local medical professionals identify patients in need of surgery or rehabilitative care. For those in need of prosthetics, precise measurements are taken to allow prostheses to be created so they can be fitted properly when the medical team arrives in Peru.
In Connecticut, equipment is gathered from supply sources willing to donate surgical plates and screws needed for spinal surgeries. Prostheses are constructed, and prepared for shipping to Peru, so they will be at the hospital when the medical team arrives.

Because it takes up to six weeks for the shipping crates filled with prostheses to clear customs in Peru, everything must be done weeks before departure.

Through the years – now more than a decade of annual medical missions – strong bonds of trust have developed among the medical professionals in Connecticut and Peru. As trust has grown, so have the number of patients treated each year, and the distances they travel in Peru to be seen by the team. For more information visit the Dreaming and Working Together website.
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