Washington state doctor heads to Haiti with orthopedic gear

RICHLAND -- Help for victims of Haiti's earthquake and the scores of injured is on the way from Richland orthopedic surgeon Lewis Zirkle.

Zirkle, who developed a bone-mending technique 10 years ago that uses metal rods as a surgical implant, will be taking about 400 pounds of surgical gear and stainless steel rods to the heart of the disaster near Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. He will set up makeshift operating rooms in a rural missionary school's classroom that somehow withstood the 7.0-magnitude quake.

Zirkle's nonprofit Surgical Implant Generation Network, also known as SIGN, specializes in providing the surgical kits for about 200 hospitals around the world.

So when Zirkle makes house calls, not surprisingly it's to faraway places where disasters have left thousands homeless and helpless, or dead. He's been to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iraq, and Indonesia in the wake of earthquakes, floods and tsunamis.

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