On July 4, 1996, Dr. Charles C. Southerland of Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, led a team of podiatric physicians on a mercy mission to Merida Mexico to perform surgery on disadvantaged crippled children from the Yucatan Peninsula. Every month he returns the lines of children waiting to see him and his medical team get longer and longer.
It is difficult to imagine in our U.S. society, that so many children with twisted limbs have never had an opportunity to be treated outside of the United States. Medical care of this nature is largely unattainable among the economically disadvantaged, unless "it's a question of loss of life or limb," according to Dr. Southerland.
The Yucatan Crippled Children's Project has rendered treatment to more than 7,400 children in its first 15 years of operation. Dr. Charles Southerland and Dr. Keith Kashuk as co-directors have coordinated more than 70 trips to the Yucatan. Sixty eight doctors have volunteered their valuable personal time, over 80 students and residents have been trained and have assisted in surgeries, and more than 23,000 volunteer hours have been logged.