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news item News Thursday, June 27, 2019 Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:14 PM - Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:14 PM

Staff from Shriners Hospitals for Children join Project Perfect World in Ecuador

“Seeing how happy that little girl was walking on her new prosthetic,” said prosthetist Eric Green, CP, “and then the smiles on her parents’ faces was my best moment.” Eric was talking about his recent trip to Ecuador as part of Project Perfect World.

Though staff members from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City have been a part of this annual trip for 26 years, it was Eric’s first time. It’s not a trip he’ll soon forget. In an average week, the practitioner sees 15 patients at the Salt Lake City Shriners Hospital. During the week he spent with two other prosthetists in Ecuador with Project Perfect World, over 100 children were evaluated and fitted with devices. Eric called the week a gratifying whirlwind. Moments like seeing a child walk were moving but didn’t last long, as the staff had to quickly move on to the next patient in order to see as many as possible in one short week.

This group of medical professionals did not just offer prosthetic services. They were comprised of 31 volunteers from across the U.S. The staff from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt lake City included Stephen Santora, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon (and his wife, who is a physical therapist); John Sanders, M.D., anesthesiologist; Mike Pond, PA-C, physician assistant; Bree Sorenson, scrub tech; Mark Coleman, central processing; Alyssa Ponce, MSW, LCSW, ACM-SW, care manager; and Eric Green, CP, prosthetist.

In an effort to reach more kids who would benefit from their expertise, staff members from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City take a little time off work and make this trip with Project Perfect World, which is a collaboration with La Junta de Beneficiencia de Guayaquil. This organization oversees the children's hospital they work out of and Damien House, which provides housing for patients who have Hansen's disease. This trip is all about providing pediatric orthopaedic treatment as well as education for Ecuadorian doctors, nurses and operating room staff at the Dr. Roberto Gilbert Elizaldo Children’s Hospital.

During their 2019 visit, they evaluated 139 patients in the outpatient clinic and performed 28 surgeries. Both numbers are increases from the previous year. Current and former Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City staff members and Dr. Santora’s wife made up one-third of the team!

Group shot of Project Perfect World participantsStaff members ready for surgery