content="Foot and Ankle Specialist Shares Experiences in Mash-like Conditions of Baja">
© Joan-Marie Moss 1996
Dr. George Tsatsos, D.P.M., FAAFS, FACFAO, a specialist in all afflictions of the foot and ankle including orthopedic deformities and walking problems, is equally at home working in the "Mash-like" conditions of Baja and the latest high-tech environments of the Midwest.
A practicing podiatrist in Elmhurst and throughout the metropolitan Chicago IL area, Dr George Tsatsos participated in two-day whirlwind trip to Baja where he participated in a project for crippled children at the American Red Cross Hospital in Mexicale, Mexico.
Dr. Tsatsos and six specialists from across the country met in Los Angeles on a Friday night to discuss sixteen case studies that they would be working on the next two days.
"We left there at 4:30 that morning and rode in a two car caravan. Each one of us took a turn at driving. We arrived at Mexicale at 10:30 am," said Dr. Tsatsos. "The trip was a lot of hard work, but very rewarding in an educational and spiritual sense. I ould do it again in a heartbeat."
"Between 10:30 am and 8 pm on Saturday, we worked on a total of 25 or 30 children that day, the original sixteen children as well as others who needed attention," said Dr. Tsatsos.
Working in teams, the participating physicians conducted two surgeries at a time.
"It was quite an experience. Although Mexicale has a fairly nice residential area, the town is very poor. The hospital looks very much like a warehouse. That day the temperatures hovered at 115 degrees; we had very poorly working air conditioners only in the operating room. We worked with primitive equipment and donated supplies. The overhead lights were unstable and we needed to hold them in place by hand in order to get the job done. What we experienced was very much like you see on 'Mash'.
"We worked with tendon transfers, club foot, in-toeing, walking problems and neuro-motor afflictions requiring surgery, braces, casts and other surgical procedures," said Dr. Tsatsos. "The cases we worked with were typically a result of nutritional deficiencies, inadequate pre-natal care and heredity.
"The work we accomplished in that trip will make a significant difference to those children as they mature. The treatment they received will not only allow them to walk correctly but will also avoid future muscular and skeletal difficulties."
The participating physicians pay for all expenses, including the transportation and lodging, and donate their time in return for the opportunity to participate in this learning experience, he explained. Occasionally, like Dr. Tsatsos, they bring clothes and other necessities for distribution among the children there.
"It is a great honor to participate in the Baja Project for Crippled Children and an outstanding learning experience," said Dr. Tsatsos. "We apply and may be on a waiting list for some time before chosen to participate in the tri-annual project."
Dr. Tsatsos welcomes teaching projects like this one. Not long ago he participated in a similar project in Switzerland that allowed him to learn new techniques for Doctor Tsatsos
Even after 17 years in practice, Dr. Tsatsos believes that continuing education is critical. Graduation from Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine in 1979 was just the beginning. He consistently completes seventy hours of continuing medical education each year -- nearly three times the requirements to maintain certification.
"The field of podiatry has changed dramatically over the past ten years. New techniques allow us to treat conditions that once were deemed chronic, difficult or painful -- possibly even requiring some form of hospitalization -- right in our office," states Dr. Tsatsos.
Specializing in podiatry, Dr. Tsatsos is qualified to treat all foot and ankle problems. He treats soft tissue conditions -- corns, calluses, ingrown nails, infections and warts -- as well as structural problems -- fractures, bunions, hammertoe, flat feet, fallen arches and more. His work frequently serves as the first line against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis, which tend to manifest early warning signs as seemingly benign foot problems, according to Dr. Tsatsos.
Because so much of our continued health hinges on the well-being of our feet, Dr. Tsatsos advocates providing services to people in need, seniors and those on Medicare.
He said he is particularly dedicated to cost containment and cost-effective treatment. "New surgical procedures including endoscopy and microsurgery, allow many of my patients to return to normal activities more quickly after treatment," he said. "Most of my patients have been able to wear their regular shoes and return to work in about a week."
Associated with Chicago's Bethany Hospital, Suburban Hospital and Edgewater Hospital he maintains surgical affiliations with Surgicare centers in Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago. He has three offices of his own: one here at 533 W. North Avenue in Elmhurst and two in Chicago.
Dr. Tsatsos is board certified in foot and ankle orthopedics by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics; in podiatric surgery by the American Podiatric Medical Specialties Board; and in pain management by the American Academy of Pain Management.
He maintains membership in the American and Illinois Podiatric Medical Association; the National & Midwest Academy of Ambulatory Foot Surgery; the American Diabetes Association, Foot Health Care Council; the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Athletic Association. He is certified in areas of laser surgery, foot and ankle arthroscopy, podiatric foot and ankle orthopedics, foot and ankle surgery and pain management.
Dr. Tsatsos, frequently gives speeches and academic lectures at senior groups and professional associations. He also is a certified preceptor director at Scholl College of Podiatry where he has been teaching for three years.
In his spare time Dr. Tsatsos, who came to the United States with his parents when he was 4-years old, is a car buff and actively participates in all fitness sports and particularly enjoys skiing.
This is one of many features Joan-Marie Moss wrote for Press Publications newspapers. For information on this and other work that Joan-Marie does, contact her directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org