International Honor Given to Physician from Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at Jefferson
For the last 15 years, Dr. Randall Culp, an internationally renowned hand surgeon with the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at Jefferson, has traveled to the South American country of Honduras each spring for a medical mission trip to treat patients in need. The trips are run in conjunction with Health Volunteers Overseas.
This year’s trip is one that will certainly stand out for Dr. Culp, as he received recognition from the nation’s government for his years of service at Hospital Esquela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The award was presented by Denis Armando Castro Bobadilla, the Second Vice President of the National Congress of Honduras, and it was the first of its kind to be given by the country.
Dr. Culp was surprised to learn of the award, finding out in the middle of a complex hand surgery, and was extremely grateful to be recognized for work that has become his passion.
“Once you get overseas medicine into your blood, you can’t get it out,” he said of the years of medical missions. “I realized it wasn’t just the hand surgery anymore. There was another reason I was going. The people are so wonderful.”
He took the opportunity at the awards ceremony to express his gratitude and to recognize others from his team who have been a part of the trips for many years. “I have to give credit to everyone,” he said. “When you’re seeing 200 to 300 patients in a week, with 120 cases resulting in surgery, it’s a collaborative team effort. This isn’t something you can do yourself.”
This year’s team included two other elite Hand Surgeons, Dr. Peter Stern (UC Health) and Dr. Julia Katarincic (University Orthopedics, Inc.), 18 physicians, therapists, hand surgery fellows & residents, and medical school students. Many of the therapists, fellows and medical students are staff members of the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center, Thomas Jefferson University, and/or Jefferson Health.
Local media broadcasted that the medical team was coming and hundreds of patients showed up to the hospital and waited to be seen. The team examined patients from all over Honduras for hand and upper extremity medical care. The cases ranged from traumatic injuries, birth defects, and older conditions that never received treatment.
It was a fast paced week for Dr. Culp and his entire team. They focused on triaging patients, operating on as many as possible, and educating Honduran medical professionals on how to treat and manage injuries and conditions. At the end of the week, the clinicians felt accomplished and rewarded from the generous smiles and endless “thank yous” from the patients and their families.
Congratulations to Dr. Culp and his team for this incredible international recognition.