Forty-six uninsured San Diego County patients to receive free surgeries, procedures

Forty-six uninsured San Diego County patients will receive donated outpatient surgeries and procedures on Saturday, August 22, 2009, through an ongoing partnership between Project Access San Diego (PASD), a program of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance Healthcare Foundation. PASD mobilizes medical volunteers to provide free surgeries and procedures to uninsured San Diegans.

Among the 22 surgeries to be performed are hernia repairs, gallbladder removals, cataract removals, orthopedic and head and neck surgeries. In many cases, these patients have been unable to work due to their medical conditions. Providing the surgery will put them back to work and allow them to provide for their families again. Kitty Bailey, Executive Director, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation states, "Twenty five percent of San Diego County adults do not have health insurance of any kind. For people in these circumstances, trying to arrange for nonemergency but necessary surgery can be a long and frustrating process. Through this partnership, patients are able to get the surgeries they need so they can get back to caring for their families and working."

In addition to the 22 surgeries, 24 patients will receive colorectal cancer screening procedures. Colorectal cancer continues to be the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. It is also one of the most easily prevented; oftentimes polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. Dr. Daniel S. Anderson of Kaiser Permanente says, "This project has already saved lives. By screening and testing medically underserved patients, we can find colon cancer before it is too late and connect them to the care they need."

Kaiser Permanente's SurgiCenter in Otay Mesa is again collaborating with Project Access San Diego for this Saturday Surgery Day and is donating the operating rooms and medical supplies. "The level of volunteerism among the medical staff at Kaiser Permanente is so high. Volunteers know that the surgeries we perform are changing lives in a meaningful way," says Dr. Sandra L. Freiwald, General Surgeon. Over 150 volunteers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, operating room technicians, administrative staff, environmental services staff, laboratory technicians and pharmacists will donate their time on Saturday, August 22. Karma Bass, CEO of Alliance Healthcare Foundation adds, "Alliance Healthcare Foundation is proud to partner with Project Access in support of Surgery Days. These surgeries significantly improve the well-being of the patients that benefit from them and often transform their lives."

CURRENT PATIENT STORIES:

She delivers newspapers and cares for her disabled husband. Theresa is having difficulty driving due to the discomfort and pain associated with carpel tunnel. With no health insurance, Theresa thought she would just "have to deal with the pain." Then a friend suggested she visit a community clinic. Her physician at the clinic referred her into Project Access San Diego. On August 22, Dr. Lyons will perform carpel tunnel surgery.

He is familiar with colon cancer. Thomas' grandmother died of colon cancer. His mother was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 81. His brother is suffering from a related condition. With his family history, Thomas is an ideal candidate for a screening GI procedure, which he will receive on August 22. Thomas is "delighted to have this opportunity -- prevention is very valuable."

She is drowning in medical debt. Berenice has been to the emergency room more than seven times because of gallstones. If she does not get her gallbladder removed soon, she will end up in the emergency room again, needing an emergency gallbladder removal -- an expensive and dangerous procedure. On August 22, Dr. Freiwald will perform a low-risk, outpatient gallbladder removal. This procedure will relieve Berenice of the pain and discomfort associated with gallstones.

PAST PATIENT STORIES:

He's a house painter struggling to land jobs in this dreadful economy. William will earn less than $10,000 this year, has no company-paid health benefits and was nursing a painful hernia that would have cost upward of $8,000 to medically repair. On April 25, 2009, he received a hernia repair. While recovering, William has enrolled in GED classes and begun applying for jobs.

She is a mother of three. Kelly went to the emergency room four times because of gallstones. At one point, she weighed only 75 lbs. She struggled to care for her children because of her decreased energy level and extreme pain. Without health insurance, her family could not pay the $10,000 price tag for a gallbladder removal. On April 25, 2009, Kelly received a free outpatient cholecystectomy. She has recovered well, and is enjoying being active with her children again.

www.SDCMSF.org , www.kaiserpermanente.org and www.alliancehf.org

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