Baja Project for Crippled Children

    In the early 1970s children with clubfoot deformities were brought from Mexicali to Los Angeles and San Francisco where doctors performed corrective surgery.  When Dr. Stark became aware of this in 1975 he arranged future surgeries to be conducted at the California College of Podiatric Medicine.  The need outweighed the facilities available in the U.S.  which led to a couple of podiatrists bringing residents to Mexicali forming the beginnings of a visiting clinic.  By 1977 Dr. Barry Rodgveller got together with Dr. Fred Hernandez, who was the liaison to the clinic, to form the Baja Project for Crippled Children, a volunteer mission funded by donations.  Dr. Hernandez coupled with Dr. Stan Weinstein and Dr. Mark Bernard to develop other clinics in Mexico and Central America.  Since that time thousands upon thousands of children and adults have had their deformities corrected enabling them to have productive lives.

     Dr. Levitsky was invited to become an attending physician to the clinic in 1989.   He was overwhelmed by the need and gratitude of the people and continues to volunteer his services on a yearly basis. 

     The BPCC has clinics in Mexicali, Mexico, San Miguel, El Salvador and Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  The clinical challenges run the full scope of developmental and acquired deformities.  It is not uncommon for a 12 year old, who in otherwise good health, to have his or her feet facing backwards.  When deformities of this nature are corrected the person is able to obtain employment and even marriage.   All the volunteer surgeons work together on each surgery as a team, determining the best approach to the specific deformities, tailoring the best procedures for each patient.  Many of their patients are diagnosed with foot and ankle manifestations caused by post polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, trauma and spinal cord malformations. 

 

     In addition to treating lower extremity deformities, the BPCC volunteers train local orthopedists and internists in specific techniques and post-operative protocol.  The doctors train local social service workers and medical facilities to educate the surrounding communities in getting newborns with clubfoot to the clinic as early as possible to take advantage of new techniques (Ponsetti) that will eliminate complicated reconstruction later in life.

     Dr. Levitsky is proud to be a volunteer Senior Surgeon and Clinical Instructor for the Baja Project for Crippled Children.

 

 

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Dr. Levitsky's next volunteer assignment is January 14 through 19, 2011 in Honduras, Central America. Stay tuned for follow-up information and photos.