In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 14, over 50 physicians, nurses, clinicians, and administrative personnel volunteered their Sunday to provide surgeries to individuals unable to afford such care. This group of selfless volunteers came together for one common goal – to change lives through Surgery on Sunday.
Surgery on Sunday provides, at no charge, essential outpatient surgeries to the uninsured and the underinsured. Now in its 10th year, the program has provided nearly 5,600 outpatient surgeries for individuals who would otherwise not receive care. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Andrew Moore, II, the program began as a solution for the working poor who are so often overlooked in healthcare – those that “fall between the cracks.”
This past Sunday was no different, with surgical cases including hernia repairs, urology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, and mass excision. Trevor Wilkes, MD, an orthopedic surgeon is honored to be a part of the program: “Healthcare is a complicated topic but Surgery on Sunday is a great example, one we can all support, of meeting a need of those that fall through the system.”
Relying entirely on volunteers, Surgery on Sunday performs outpatient surgeries the third Sunday of each month (unless it falls on a holiday) at the Lexington Surgery Center, utilizing 450 volunteer physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, and administrative help who have donated nearly 90,000 hours of service since 2005.
Volunteers are the heart of Surgery on Sunday. Without our dedicated physicians and clinical staff, we could not have the impact on our patients that we do. Many have volunteered with us since we began surgeries in 2005, not ever missing a surgery day.
One such volunteer is Paul Kearney, MD, now the chairman of Surgery on Sunday. “I derive great satisfaction from helping those that would otherwise go untreated. All of us have a responsibility to give back the blessings bestowed upon us. Surgery on Sunday has always provided me an outlet to care for the medically underserved,” states Kearney.
Many volunteers share the same sentiment. “Unless you have experienced a Surgery on Sunday day, it is hard to explain the energy that is present. Everyone is happy – the volunteers, patients, and their families. The volunteers, no matter their background, or where they normally work, come together, for one purpose –to serve others,” says Fred Hadley, MD.
Surgery on Sunday’s mission has always been to serve those in need and has adapted as needs have changed. In 2015, in response to the Affordable Care Act, the Board revised criteria for acceptance in the program to include the underinsured, by expanding to include individuals who have a high deductible plan that is 10 percent or more of their household income. Patients must also meet income requirements, which are up to 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Patients served by Surgery on Sunday are extremely grateful. “The patients are grateful because Surgery on Sunday provides hope. Though they cannot pay, they often express their gratitude in other forms,” states Kearney. “I had a man, at his post-operative appointment, give me his hat as a thank you. It was obviously a meaningful item for him, but he wanted me to have it. Often patients cry and hug you because they are so thankful. As a physician, you do not get that every day.”
All surgeries are performed at the Lexington Surgery Center (LSC), which has been the home of Surgery on Sunday since 2005. LSC provides the operating rooms, overhead, and equipment that is necessary for a surgery day to occur. “Without the support of Lexington Surgery Center, we would not have the ability to provide the array of surgeries we do and change lives. They have been our biggest blessing,” states Shirley Ramsey, DNP, FNP-BC, clinical director for Surgery on Sunday. LSC’s assistance allows Surgery on Sunday to provide surgeries at a cost of approximately $300 per patient.
Surgery on Sunday is blessed to have a wide array of supporters, individuals, and foundations that share in our mission and see the impact of our program. The end result of their generosity can be seen the third Sunday of every month. Patients leave grateful to have received care with no financial burden. Families are relieved, and volunteers walk away with more than they walked in with. What more can you ask for on a Sunday?
To become involved or support Surgery on Sunday, contact
Anna L. Taylor, Executive Director
(859) 288-2495 firstname.lastname@example.org www.surgeryonsunday.org