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Dr. John Wyrick Uses His Unique Skills and Experience to Help In Africa

A Yearning to Help . . .

About five years ago, Dr. John Wyrick, Orthopaedic Surgeon with Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, was searching for a meaningful way to give back to the community and the world. He was proud of his medical practice, his family and his life in general. However, he felt a pull to use his gifts to help a wider circle of people.

But How and Who?

As that pull continued, he became aware of the local arm of the nonprofit organization Village Life Outreach Project. Through them, he made his first mission trip and was introduced to the very specific orthopedic needs of the indigenous people of Tanzania. He found that many Tanzanians ride motorcycles as part of their daily lives. Due to the sheer volume of riders and potentially more hazardous road conditions, there are more accidents than occur in the U.S. Unfortunately, many of what we might consider routine bone fractures that occur there were not set properly, more likely to become infected, and caused even more trouble.

Calling Dr. Wyrick?

About five years ago, Dr. Wyrick joined a team of healthcare professionals on a mission trip to Tanzania. Upon arrival, he saw what those poorly set (and infected) bones yielded – severe lower limb deformities that required surgery. A surgery for which he had specialized training. During that first trip, the goal was to operate on as many Tanzanians as needed. He worked in tandem with local doctors and nurses, realizing that the need was much more than just the surgeries. The local physicians needed medical training, equipment and resources to treat the people needing surgery in the short term. More importantly, he also better to equip those providers with the training and equipment they need to adequately address those problems in the future.

Dr. Wyrick Returns.

It sounds like the sequel to a great movie.

Now organizing through local (on-the-ground) contacts, Dr. Wyrick has returned to Tanzania several times. His experiences there (and traveling to and from) have made those trips both easier and more cumbersome simultaneously. Now, he brings as much as he can fit in his carry-ons. And hopes it’s enough. That includes orthopedic frames that are readily available in the US, but are scarce there. He found that shipping them was too expensive and risky. Dr. Wyrick said, “Shipping cannot be counted on, and going through Customs is tough.”

He has forged real and lasting friendships with local physicians, now staying in their homes, sharing meals and special times with their families. This summer, he’s been invited back to teach at Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI). “We want to train more local healthcare providers to set fractures properly,” said Dr. Wyrick. “We will also teach them how to care for those patients as they recover.” He knows his training and experience informed his work there. He believes that yearning to help somewhere has been filled by this vital work. And he knew almost immediately that he was specially qualified to do it.

Well done, Dr. Wyrick. Well done.