Dr. Andrew Odland is an Orthopedic Surgeon for Orthopedic Specialists / Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics. He has been with ISH and OS since 2018, primarily working in Fort Dodge and Garner, Iowa. Terry Baxter (Iowa State Representative) reached out to Dr. Odland to ask if he would be willing to look at a gentleman that lived in Iquitos, Peru. The city has a population of over 400,000 people but not a single orthopedic surgeon who does joint replacement.
The patient, Manuel Sandoval, had been living with pain in his knees for a long time. In 2007, Manuel had to stop doing things he loved like playing soccer, praying on his knees, and walking because the pain was too much to bear. In 2014, Manuel’s wife passed away.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I had a 4 to 5 day and night.” Manuel went on to say, “I prayed to God, asked him to heal my knees. My wife was my world, she was my right hand, my best friend, and we did everything together. When she passed, I felt like a part of me died with her.”
When Manuel’s wife passed away, he became a head pastor of Word of Life Church Plant in Iquitos, Peru.
“My wife and I were always active in ministry. But with her gone, I felt a heavier load on my shoulders and needed my knees to be healthy. My 24/7 pain grew to an 8; it was difficult to do a lot with the pain.”
Manuel kept praying to God to help him heal his knees. He didn’t want to leave the ministry because of his arthritic knees.
“Please do something with my knees. If I can’t cross the finish line of life walking, I will finish it crawling. I will serve You no matter what,” Manuel prayed.
Five years after Manuel prayed to God, he got his prayer answered. At this point, his daily pain was a 10. Hannah, daughter of Terry Baxter and daughter-in-law to Manuel, contacted her parents to see if there was a way they could help her father-in-law. She got a call one night from her dad.
“I think God wants to heal your father-in-law, but we just got to get him to the USA, find a doctor who will take his case on, find a hospital who will take him on as a humanitarian case, find a place for you guys to stay, fundraise money for your flights, food and other expenses during your stay, find a physical therapist for therapy after surgery, get your father-in-law a passport, and visa. That’s all, and then you guys can come.” Terry Baxter told his daughter on the phone.
That is when Terry Baxter contacted Dr. Odland to see if he would be willing to look at Manuel’s case. Hannah emailed Dr. Odland Manuel’s scans. After reviewing the scans, Dr. Odland told the family that Manuel would be an excellent candidate for double knee replacement.
Dr. Odland presented Manuel’s case to his board of staff. In a unanimous agreement, they all agreed to take Manuel on as a humanitarian case. Dr. Odland was more than willing to donate his time and skill as Manuel’s surgeon. They now have two of the seven things done on their list.
That is when Hannah and Manuel Jr. went to Manuel to tell him the exciting news and see if he would be willing to travel to the United States for new knees. Manuel was afraid of flying, so this was a big decision for him.
Hannah’s brother told them they could stay at his house during their stay. Terry Baxter worked to raise funds to cover the cost of airfare for four people. Manuel was coming to the United States with Manuel Jr., Hannah, and his grandson Daniel. They were his support team for after surgery. Terry Baxter also found a physical therapist who donated her time and agreed to come to the house three times a week for six weeks following surgery.
The initial plan was to perform surgery on one knee, followed by six weeks of therapy. Dr. Odland would then perform surgery on the other knee, followed by an additional six weeks of therapy. When Dr. Odland reviewed the new x-rays, he highly recommended both knees be replaced at the same time.
On April 11, 2022, Manuel had double knee replacement.
“My daily pain is now 0-1 because I am strengthening my nerves and muscle again, that I haven’t been able to use for fifteen years. I feel like I was reborn, that God gave me a new opportunity to live again. I have little pain, and I can walk without pain. I am a new Manuel!”
Manuel can now walk longer, speed walk, stand for more time, play around with the soccer ball, get on the ground and play with his grandkids, ride a bike, and get on his knees to pray. He has even ridden a horse.
“I can honestly say this was been the best Hospital experience I have ever had in my life time. The staff didn’t treat me like another patient but like family.” Manuel continued, “Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for being the answer to my prayer and giving me new knees so I can go serve God and the church. He has made me better. Thank you!”
*Since Manuel does not speak English his daughter-in-law interpreted his story.*