Local surgical teams heading to Peru

A dozen health care professionals from Good Samaritan Hospital, headed by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Harpal S. Khanuja, will be among a contingent of 56 from Operation Walk Maryland that were to head to Peru Oct. 9.

The group, which plans to perform free hip and knee replacements on more than 50 arthritic patients in a hospital in Lima, is a branch of Operation Walk, which originated in California in 1994.

Dr. Khanuja and his wife Maria, a registered nurse who is serving as coordinator for the Peru trip, established a local chapter after joining a similar mission of mercy, to El Salvador in 2006.

Mrs. Khanuja traveled to Lima in January, paving the way for a group of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and physical therapists.

“We try to stick to normal protocols, but because our time there is limited, we’re going to do all of these surgeries in three and a half days,” she said. “That will leave time for us to stabilize the patients and begin physical therapy. Hopefully, some will be discharged while we’re still there.”

The team includes Dr. Keith Hairston, an anesthesiologist from St. Joseph Medical Center who learned of Operation Walk Maryland in an unusual way.

“My son and Maria and Harpal’s daughter are in school together,” Dr. Hairston said, of his relationship with the Khanujas. “Maria told me of a need for another anesthesiologist, and I’m eager to go.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.