Humanitarian Needs: The Arthroplasty Community and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Harpal S. Khanuja, Yash P. Chaudhry, Neil P. Sheth, Julius K. Oni, Brian S. Parsley, J. Craig Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: As the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers are on the front lines. We highlight the value of engaging in humanitarian medical work, contributions of the hip and knee arthroplasty community to date, and future needs after the resolution of the pandemic. We sought to understand how the arthroplasty community can contribute, based on historical lessons from prior pandemics and recessions, current needs, and projections of the COVID-19 impact. Methods: We polled members of medical mission groups led by arthroplasty surgeons to understand their current efforts in humanitarian medical work. We also polled orthopedic colleagues to understand their role and response. Google Search and PubMed were used to find articles relevant to the current environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian needs after previous epidemics, and the economic effects of prior recessions on elective surgery. Results: Hip and knee arthroplasty surgeons are not at the center of the pandemic but are providing an invaluable supportive role through continued care of musculoskeletal patients and unloading of emergency rooms. Others have taken active roles assisting outside of orthopedics. Arthroplasty humanitarian organizations have donated personal protective equipment and helped to prepare their partners in other countries. Previous pandemics and epidemics highlight the need for sustained humanitarian support, particularly in poor countries or those with ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises. Conclusion: There are opportunities now to make a difference in this health care crisis. In the aftermath, there will be a great need for humanitarian work both here and throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S85-S88
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • arthroplasty
  • humanitarianism
  • operation walk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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