Medical Center Volunteers to Depart for Haiti with Operation Smile

HERSHEY – Several Penn State Hershey Medical Center doctors and nurses will join an effort to provide medical care to victims of the Haiti earthquake. A team of nine physicians, nurses and technicians plan to depart Thursday evening for Norfolk, Va., where they’ll board a military flight to Port-au-Prince.

J. Spence Reid, an orthopaedic surgeon in the Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute, is coordinating the medical mission with a pair of not-for-profit health organizations — Partners in Health, which has been providing medical care in Haiti for more than 20 years, and Operation Smile. The latter is best known for providing care to children born with severe cleft lip and cleft palate conditions, but is currently focused on coordinating qualified medical volunteers to assist with the relief efforts in Haiti.

“Operation Smile has a great deal of experience working in underserved countries setting up surgical sites under challenging conditions. Partners in Health is extremely familiar with the country of Haiti and its infrastructure,” said Reid. “We have faith in the ability of Operation Smile and Partners in Health to handle the logistics and that allows our team to concentrate on providing vital care to the many people in Haiti who desperately need it. We certainly hope to make a difference.”

Reid said the team expects to be in Haiti for approximately two weeks.

The team includes Jay Bridgeman, orthopaedic surgeon; Shane Johnson, plastic surgeon; Patrick McQuillan, anesthesiologist; Johni Bradney, clinical head nurse for orthopaedics; surgical technologist Ami Willenbecher and orthopaedic resident Matthew Budge, nurse Maureen Kelley, and Peggy Schroeder, a nurse with PinnacleHealth.

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