ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Laudette Lynce is a mother and grandmother. She lived her life in pain, a result of deformities in her knees.
Dr. Frederic Guerrier met the Haitian woman during a visit to her country. He became her savior.
“It was painful to watch her walk,” said Guerrier.
Dr. Guerrier he decided to change Laudette's life. He flew her to St. Petersburg and enlisted the help of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kurt Hirshorn and St. Anthony’s Hospital to perform a free double-knee replacement surgery.
Laudette speaks French, but she communicate with her actions. During a visit to All Florida Orthopaedic, she hugged everyone to express her gratitude for changing her life.
“Merci beaucoup!” Lynce said with a big smile.
Doctors Guerrier and Hirshorn are part of a growing movement among Tampa Bay area medical professionals who come to the aid of the uninsured both in the United States and abroad.
“Luckily, we have so many people in the area, doctors, the medical industry, willing to help,” said Dr. Hirshorn. “And that’s the only way these things work.”
A knee replacement can cost $50,000 in the U.S. without insurance.
“To pay out of pocket, it’s more than a car," said Dr. Hirshorn.
The surgery Laudette needed would normally be out of reach in Haiti where the average annual per capita income is about $350.
The St. Petersburg doctors are currently looking for local participants to take part in Operation Walk USA, which helps uninsured, low-income patients get the orthopedic help they need.
To help out or recommend someone may be eligible for Operation Walk USA's services, click here.