Thank You Touching Hands Project Volunteers

January 28, 2020

For over 49 years, OAA’s mission has been to provide the community with superior quality care through teamwork, passion, and a patient-first mentality. This past Saturday, OAA’s Hand Surgeons continued this mission as they came together to volunteer with the Surgical Center of Allentown, Anesthesiologists from Northeastern Anesthesia Physicians, PC., and Hand Therapists from the Institute for Hand & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation to serve Veterans and uninsured residents of the Lehigh Valley and surrounding community.
This was a domestic hand surgery mission under the Touching Hands Project, which is a global charitable project of the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand. The mission is to provide free care to those who suffer from a serious hand injury or deformity who otherwise do not have access to affordable care, specialized treatment and rehabilitation care options.
Under the guidance of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and partnership with our colleagues in care, OAA Hand Surgeons were able to perform 23 surgeries for members of the community who needed help.
Peter Stern, a past president of the ASSH said in 2001 that “Volunteerism is the essence of clinical medicine—you truly make a difference in people’s lives.” Yesterday, we saw that in action in Allentown and you could feel the energy in the day through joyful smiles, endless expressions of gratitude, an overwhelming effort of “let me help you with that”, all cumulating in hugs and tears of joy!! The day was filled with the gratification of making a positive change in all of our lives, the patients and our own!
We could not be prouder of all the volunteers and acknowledge their great efforts to make time to serve our community. This positive energy snowballed well beyond the actual surgical procedures as it was a cumulative effort from the administrative staff, receptionists, pre-operative, operative and post-operative nursing, physician assistants, surgical techs, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists all the way through the sterile processing team and those that cleaned and prepared the rooms for each patient.  Outside of the actual care team we also had two of our car valet team members who donated their Saturday to help.  We would like to recognize Pam who opened Mocha Mike’s coffee shop on a Saturday to provide free food to our patient’s families!
We want to thank Rob Green from Arthrex who sponsored lunch for all volunteers and donated implants for some of the surgical cases. We also would like to thank AMSURG for allowing us to donate the medical / surgical equipment, operating room time and medications to provide these surgeries. Thank you to Dr. Serena Chyung who cooked a wonderful breakfast for the staff and delicious baked good for the families of our patients.
The incredible list of volunteers continues, and we are so thankful for their time and dedication to those in need with an incredible accumulation of work behind the scenes preparing for this surgical day.  The team here includes over 40 volunteers from our OAA Orthopedic Specialist office who volunteered on two Saturday screening days in the Fall, including nursing, x-ray, medical assistants, clinical coordinators, physician assistants and receptionists and surgery schedulers. We are so proud of the teamwork and commitment to make everything run smoothly for our patients over these past few months.
Finally, OAA Hand Surgeons want to thank our mentor and friend Scott Kozin, MD for his leadership and guidance over the past two decades of our careers. He is a past president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and Founder of the Touching Hands Project which provides free hand surgery.
Kozin stated in a 2014 address, “We must realize the privileges of being an accomplished physician and being a member of the ASSH. This privilege comes at a price. We must appreciate our good fortune and share it with others by putting our gifts and training into service.”
We are so proud to have been able to help our brave Veterans and uninsured residents of the Lehigh Valley. OAA Orthopaedic Specialists has expert physicians in all areas of musculoskeletal care and it is the pleasure of our Hand and Upper Extremity division to be a part of this today.  As Dr. Lawrence Weiss said, “Our patients at OAA are cared for like our own family and as their care team we are determined to help them in any way that we can.”
Care will continue for these patients as they will be followed up in our office and will be cared for by Certified Hand Therapists from The Institute for Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation.
Thank you again to everyone for your help to make this a successful mission and we can never say this enough-thank you to our brave Veterans for your service to our country.
Jay Talsania, MD
Patrick McDaid, MD
Richard Battista, MD
Lawrence Weiss, MD