NEWS FROM SVS
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: ‘Perfect Storm’ Helps Amputee
Receive New Leg
Both doctor and patient see the hand of God in a series of coincidences that changed the life of a man from the Dominican Republic.
“I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason,” said SVS member Dr. Richard Lynn.
The coincidences began more than a year ago,
when Dr. Lynn and his wife Margrit won a stay at
a resort in the Dominican Republic. Though the
prize had expired, the bilingual Dr. Lynn called
the resort to see if it could still be honored. He
reached Arturo Guerrero Castillo, who passed the
request on. The certificate ultimately was honored
and soon Dr. Lynn talked with Mr. Castillo again.
Mr. Castillo, discovering Dr. Lynn is a surgeon,
told him of a colleague he was trying to help, Graviel Jacobo, who had lost his leg 20 years earlier at
age 6 and whose prosthesis was failing. Dr. Lynn
said he would be happy to see what he could do.
The long-ago accident occurred when a very
hungry, young Mr. Jacobo had walked to the rail-yard to see if he could get some sugar cane to eat.
Taking sugar from a train cart dislodged the cart,
which moved and crushed the small boy’s leg. “It’s
a miracle he didn’t bleed to death,” said Dr. Lynn.
“It was a very high amputation, almost like a disar-
“It was really hard for me,” said Mr. Jacobo of
the accident and its aftermath. “My school was
about 30 minutes away in walking distance and I
used to walk every day on crutches.”
In 2007, a group of missionaries from Springfield,
Mass., visiting through a hospital in La Romana Do-
minican Republic, met Mr. Jacobo and arranged for
him to get a new leg at the Shriners Hospital for Chil-
dren in Massachusetts. “After using the crutches for
so many years, I was really happy,” said Mr. Jacobo. “I
was born again that day.”
He received a replacement leg three years later,
which broke earlier this year.
During the resort stay in late May of this year,
Dr. Lynn assessed the situation, including the ex-
isting prosthesis. “It was broken in two or three
places, including by the knee and foot. He’d been
compensating by limping,” said Dr. Lynn.
No places in (Santo) Domingo could do the work
and taking him elsewhere was cost-prohibitive.
Dr. Lynn told Mr. Castillo and Mr. Jacobo he
could make no promises, but would see if he could
get help when back in the states, and while attending the then-upcoming Vascular Annual Meeting.
• Dr. Lynn looked up exhibitor information for
VAM and noted two companies involved with
prosthetic work would be in attendance.
• While researching online, he discovered that two
longtime SVS members’ practices – those of Drs.
Carlo Dall’Olmo and William Edwards, Jr., both of
whom he knows – partner with one of the companies, Amputee Associates LLC. in Nashville, Tenn.
• Dr. Lynn contacted both fellow surgeons, who
put him in touch with company CEO Ted MacDonald. The two made plans to meet at the firm’s
• Amputee Associates agreed to donate the cost of
the prosthesis and care if airfare and food could be
covered. An anonymous donor agreed to provide
• Mr. Jacobo flew to Savannah Vascular & Cardiac
Care Institute in Savannah, Ga., in August. The
company proceeded to build him a new prosthesis,
fit him and provide rehabilitation.
“Then he goes back to the Dominican Republic
like he never had a problem in his life,” said Dr.
Mr. Jacobo is thrilled with his new leg and the
continuing help he is receiving via email and
phone calls. “I thank God every day for this blessing, which I was not expecting,” he said.
Dr. Lynn called the situation a “perfect storm,”
including the humanitarian collaboration between
industry and community doctors. No one involved
received compensation, he noted. “The only one
who benefited here was the patient.”
Like Mr. Jacobo, Dr. Lynn is thrilled with both
the outcome and the number of people who
reached out to help. “There’s no amount of money
VQI: SVS Patient Safety Organization Welcomes New
Medical Director, Dr. Jens Eldrup-Jorgensen
The Society for Vascular Surgery Patient Safety Organization (SVS
PSO) welcomes Dr. Jens Eldrup-Jorgensen as its new medical director.
He will replace Dr. Jack Cronenwett,
who has served as medical director
The SVS PSO is a part of the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) that
also includes 17 regional quality improvement groups, and M2S, a commercial technology partner.
Drs. Cronenwett and Jorgensen are
two of the founding members of the
Vascular Study Group of New England, the oldest regional study group.
Dr. Jorgensen is director of the Vascular Center at Maine Medical Center,
professor of surgery at Tufts University
School of Medicine and the recipient
of numerous teaching awards. He was
the chief of the division of vascular
surgery at Maine Medical Center and
director of a 14-physician practice.
“When Jack convened a meeting
in 2002 to discuss the formation
of the Vascular Study Group of
Northern New England we had no
idea where it would lead,” said Dr.
Jorgensen. “We started with eight
hospitals and 22 surgeons. Now 14
years later, there are 385 centers,
2,800 participating providers and
more than 300,000 patients in the
database. The growth and success
of VQI has been well beyond what
we imagined at the outset.”
Maine Medical has used VQI data
to develop clinical protocols, create
provider and divisional scorecards
and improve operational efficiency, as
well as use detailed and defined data
to make evidence-based decisions
for patients, he said. In his new role,
Dr. Jorgensen is looking forward to
focusing on his interest in patient
outcomes and quality.
International cooperation leads to new
prosthesis for Graviel Jacobo of the
I could have been paid for the sense of pride I have
from being able to help,” he said.
“And I didn’t do it alone. It took a lot of people,”
Dr. Lynn said, adding, “Mostly God.” ■
Eldrup-Jorgensen continued on page 9