Surgery center provides free hernia operation

When a woman living near Lima, OH, started a service to provide free surgery to needy people overseas, she found a willing partner at nearby West Central Ohio Surgery and Endoscopy Center in Lima.

The organization, called Children’s Medical Missions, sent a photo of a 10-year-old African boy needing a hernia operation to the center. She told the center a little about the child, and they decided to offer the surgery.

Children’s Medical Missions arranged transportation and sent a chaperone to ensure the child was prepared preoperatively by having enough food and sufficient clothing. The center and physicians donated all expenses for the operation.

The child spoke French, so the center arranged for a boy in the community from Africa to interpret. "When he got here, we found out he was from the same country," says Cheryl Swenar, BSN, RN, CASC, administrator. "They didn’t speak the same dialect, but they could communicate in French."

The case was handled as part of the regular surgery schedule. Children’s Medical Missions arranged for a host family to provide a place for the child to recover.

In addition to free publicity through a local newspaper article, the advantage of providing the free surgery was "being able to help somebody — a child who probably never would have any hope," Swenar says. "Hernias can strangulate, cause the bowel to die, then without medical help, he would die."


For information on providing surgery in the United States to needy people from overseas, contact:

  • Children’s Medical Missions, c/o Tami Shobe, 15595 Waynesfield Road, Waynesfield, OH 45896. E-mail: Web:
  • Cheryl Swenar, BSN, RN, CASC, Administrator, West Central Ohio Surgery and Endoscopy Center, 770 W. High St., Suite 100, Lima, OH 45801. Phone: (419) 226-8701. Phone: (419) 568-2893. E-mail:
  • Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World (REMEDY) is a group of health care professionals promoting the recovery of open-but-unused surgical supplies. A free teaching packet includes a video, CD containing inventory and shipping database template, inservice teaching manual, staff handouts, case cart collection bags to start a program, box label templates for the recovered supplies, and brochures/ posters. To obtain the packet, go to Under "Quick Links," click on "Start a REMEDY Program."

In the Hand Carry Program, associate REMEDY programs give students, medical care providers, and families supplies to take with them when traveling abroad. To participate, send an e-mail to, and they will put you in touch with a REMEDY recovery hospital in your area.

AIRe-mail, the Agencies for International Relief e-mail program, links donors and recipients of medical equipment and supplies through e-mail notices to its member organizations. It is a joint project of REMEDY and the Office of International Health of the Yale School of Management. To participate, send an e-mail to, and they will make the information on donations available to AIRe-mail members.