Mary Gregory, Operation Access
Twenty percent of Bay Area residents do not have health insurance of any kind. People in that situation face overwhelming obstacles to obtaining needed elective surgical care—people like Norma Gonzalez.
Norma Gonzalez, patient
My knee hurt so bad that I couldn’t stay standing, and I was unable to work. I was at a loss. I had nowhere to turn. It was a very sad and difficult time for me, but the saddest thing was I wasn’t able to care for my daughter. I couldn’t get the operation I needed because I didn’t have insurance. I got help from Operation Access and Dr. Hughes.
Operation Access is a local non-profit organization. We arrange for the donation of surgical care. Sutter Health donates the use of their operating rooms, medical supplies, equipment and staff time. Our physician volunteers donate their time and expertise.
Paul Hughes, M.D., Mills-Peninsula Health Services
Norma had a tear of cartilage in her knee—the medial meniscus. Because of this, every time she walked, the cartilage tear would pinch and cause her a lot of pain. This had a huge effect on her life because she was unable to perform her job to the best of her ability.
Jim Gray, Sutter Health Board of Directors
It’s essential for a non-profit organization to provide access—to allow people within the community who don’t have the means to pay for their health care to have access to the best doctors, the best facilities, the best outcomes.
Paul Hughes, M.D.
Because Norma had access to health care and surgery through Operation Access and the partnership with Sutter Health, she was able to get the surgery she needed, which enabled her to go back to work. Without the surgery, it’s possible Norma would have been permanently disabled and unable to work or provide for her family.
Since the surgery, I’m feeling much better. I am no longer in pain. I was able to go back to work. I can bend my knees and clean around the corners. I can take care of my daughter and play with her. I can live a normal life without pain.
Community Benefit and Charity Care combined through our hospitals, with our physicians, by our caregivers …can really make a tremendous difference. And it has been in the hundreds of millions of dollars—and we’re quite proud of it. We are committed to continuing that effort.
In 2007, five Sutter-affiliated hospitals donated 223 life-changing surgical procedures, and 65 volunteer physicians donate their time through Operation Access.
Paul Hughes, M.D.
I believe in giving back to the community. I believe that I have skills that can help people, and this is giving me a great opportunity to be able to use those skills and help people that are less fortunate than ourselves.
Operation Access patients are enormously grateful for the help they have received—both from the expertise of Sutter Health physicians and the top-notch Sutter Health medical facilities.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to say thank you to Dr. Hughes, Sutter Health, and Operation Access. It meant so much to me to know that I had all these people helping me. Now I have my health back and I’m so grateful.