FRHS Doctor Volunteers Time and Life-Changing Services in Bolivia

NORFOLK, NE —- It took 20 hours of traveling, 10-12 hour workdays and 160 surgeries, but Faith Regional Health Service’s Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Dr. Zackary Gangwer said it was all worth it.

“We all do it to help the kids. It’s nice to have the team.”

Last week, Dr. Gangwer traveled to Bolivia with Operation Rainbow to provide crucial medical services to children and adults who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Operation Rainbow is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to performing free orthopedic surgery to developing countries.

Gangwer said that some of the common surgery he performed was on clubfeet, amputating extra toes, and cerebral palsy.

“Some of these kids have other disease such as rickets or fractures that healed wrong…To have the whole team you can address a variety of these issues. They haven’t or wouldn’t get the care had we not gone down there.”

Between Dr. Gangwer and three other surgeons it was morning to night, five days in a row.

“We were at a municipal hospital, so part of the national health care system, it’s where the indigent people go for care, those who don’t have insurance or other means. That includes a lot of the people who live in the rural areas in the jungles who don’t have health care in general.”

This is the type of work that first got Dr. Gangwer into medical work.

“I translated for a physician in Brazil when I was 19-year old who were doing free surgeries for the indigent people there. That’s what made me want to get into medicine. It’s one of my life goals. Ideally I want to go once a year and do these type of things.”

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