This past May, Dr. Michael Bernot, Dr. Ashok Reddy and Dr. Hal Silcox III traveled to Haiti to provide much-needed and vital orthopedic care to people in need. In less than a week, they volunteered their services and performed 15 surgeries for adults and children. These surgeries gave the Haitians a new lease on life, and many were able to return to work and school.
Through a 60+ year collaboration with the Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS), surgeons from Peachtree Orthopedics have made annual mission trips to provide 24-hour surgical support services to patients presenting at the hospital. With a continually increasing demand for surgical services, particularly emergency and/or trauma surgery, the surgical team works tirelessly around the clock to ensure that patients in need of surgery have access to these life-saving services.
It all began in 1953 when Dr. James Funk, the founder of Peachtree Orthopedics, made his first trip to Haiti. During his visit, Dr. Funk was struck not only by the beauty of the country, but also by Haiti’s widespread poverty, harsh living conditions, and desperate need for medical supplies and treatment.
Following his first trip, Dr. Funk returned to Haiti time and time again to provide medical treatment and perform surgery. He was soon joined in these medical missions by his two partners – Dr. Robert E. Wells and Dr. Joseph H. Dimon III.
As Peachtree Orthopedics grew, the tradition continued, and many PO physicians, including Drs. Mike Bernot, Xavier Duralde, Carl Fackler, Anuj Gupta, Lee Kelley, Steve McCollam, Allen McDonald Jr., Allen McDonald III, Herndon Murray, Scott Pennington, Obi Ugwonali, Doug Murray, and Steve Smith have volunteered their time and medical skills to provide orthopedic care and treatment to impoverished Haitians and to patients at the Hospital Albert Schweitzer.
In 1983, Peachtree Orthopedics’ long-standing commitment to Haiti was recognized when the National Order of Honor and Merit – Haiti’s highest honor for civilian service and contributions – was awarded to Dr. Funk.
Today, humanitarian and medical needs in Haiti remain great. Peachtree Orthopedics’ involvement and assistance is as critical as it was over 60 years ago when Dr. Funk made his first trip. Haiti’s infant mortality rate is the highest in the world. Over half the country’s population suffers from malnutrition, and the average life expectancy is just 53 years.
The Peachtree Orthopedics Foundation, a non-profit organization, continues to help address these critical humanitarian needs by providing funds, supplies, and medical assistance in Haiti.