Dr. Justin Bundy, a spine surgeon at Doctors Hospital of Augusta, Augusta, Ga. who has performed spinal surgeries helping local patients for years, is now one of two spine surgeons with the Straight Caribbean Spine Foundation which helps children in Jamaica through free lifesaving scoliosis surgery.
“The country has only 20 orthopedic surgeons, none of whom perform spinal surgeries on pediatric patients,” says Dr. Bundy. “On our first of seven days, the amount of people who showed up to the clinic was overwhelming. We had about 80 families bring their children from across the country, hoping that they would be candidates for the surgery.”
“When I heard about this opportunity, I knew I had to take it,” said Dr. Bundy. Dr. Bundy performed an estimated thirty-five scoliosis surgeries in the five days he was in Jamaica. The days began at 7:00 a.m. and ended at 7:00 p.m. A typical spine surgeon performs one or two of these surgeries per week in the United States.
“Some of these surgeries were very complicated. One patient in particular was 18 years old, had never seen a physician and had a 120 degree curve in his back,” said Dr. Bundy. Once the surgeries were complete, the patients stayed in the hospital for about a week. With the help of the Straight Caribbean Spine Foundation, the patients will receive free follow-up care.
In America, more than seven million children are currently living with scoliosis. The average cost of surgery to help heal this medical condition is $80,000 – $90,000.
“These families have nothing and were so grateful. If we weren’t there to help, some of these children could have died because the curves in their backs would continue to crush their organs,” says Dr. Bundy. “This is by far the most professionally rewarding thing I have ever done and I’m so glad I did it.”
In October, Dr. Bundy will make his second trip to Kingston, Jamaica. At that time he will have follow up appointments with those who received the surgery, as well as perform surgeries on new candidates.