Health Care Heroes: Dr. Adolph Lombardi Jr.|
July 13, 2012
Dr. Adolph Lombardi Jr. found performing surgeries as an international volunteer with Operational Walk to be a rewarding and exciting opportunity.
Lombardi traveled to Nicaragua with the organization that helps patients with mobility issues in 2010.
When he returned to his New Albany practice, Joint Implant Surgeons Inc., he began to think about people in this community that needed help.
Over the years, he had seen patients who were in serious need of surgery but did not have insurance or the financial means to pay for it. Lombardi often considered performing the procedures for free but recognized that the other costs a patient would incur from a hip or knee replacement would still be prohibitive.
He decided to create an organization dedicated to helping physicians in the United States perform hip and knee surgeries on patients in their own communities. He named to organization Operation Walk USA.
As president of the Hip Society, a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the hip joint, Lombardi was able to share his mission with colleagues across the country.
Lombardi asked orthopedic surgeons to provide pro bono hip and knee replacement surgeries in a concerted and coordinated effort on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. During the two-day marathon, 65 surgeons completed hip and knee replacements on 85 patients at 25 hospitals in 18 states. Lombardi also enlisted hospitals to donate operating rooms, manufacturers to donate the medical equipment and other professionals to provide X-rays and other necessary services.
“People have just said yes and not even questioned it,” he said. “Doctors in general don’t mind giving back.”
The doctors were excited to relieve patients of the pain and lack of mobility associated with joint issues, he said.
“It’s miserable,” he said. “People can’t move around well. They’re restricted in their activities.”
The program also had an exciting secondary benefit. While the organization worked to determine whether patients were eligible for free surgeries, volunteers found some clients were eligible for existing programs that provided medical care. Many patients were then enrolled in programs that covered their surgeries and provided ongoing coverage.
“The patients in the program didn’t realize they qualified for government assistance,” Lombardi said.
The 2012 marathon surgery is going to be even bigger than last year’s, Lombardi said. He already has recruited 105 surgeons who have each promised to perform two surgeries during the December event.
Lombardi also hopes to begin fundraising for his organization to pay for unexpected expenses patients might incur and medications or equipment that is not available through donations.
Lombardi’s efforts have touched many lives, wrote Craig Mohre in the application nominating Lombardi for an award.
“What makes Dr. Lombardi so special is not just his willingness to volunteer his time and skills to this outstanding organization, but his tireless commitment to grow it in order to touch more lives,” wrote Mohre, who serves as executive director of the New Albany Community Foundation. “Because of his passion and drive to make the world a better place, Dr. Lomabrdi has improved the lives of so many people across the globe.”