MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Volunteers launched a program to provide free surgery for those who can't afford it.
Leadership Macon partnered with the Medical Center of Central Georgia, the Macon Chamber of Commerce and the Macon Volunteer Clinic to start S.P.I.N., or Surgery for People In Need.
According to Executive Director of the Macon Volunteer Clinic Cile Lind, almost 19 percent of local residents live without insurance.
"They are life-changing, life-improving surgeries to our patients," says Lind. '"We'll offer things like hernia repair...gall bladder removal, mass incisions and things like that."
Dr. Benjamin Christie is the doctor providing the surgeries to low-income families and individuals.
"This is an answer to the working members of our community who can't quite afford health insurance, but work too hard and do too much to qualify for any of the government-based insurance plans," says Christie.
Lind adds the program was made possible without state or federal funding.
"All of our services are funded by donors, grants, foundations and through the volunteer work of over 100 plus volunteer nurses, doctors and support staff."
With the help of the community, Chris Jackson with Leadership Macon believes-in the future-the program will have a significant impact on the community.
"They saw a need and they filled that need, not with just their money, but with their services and with their hands," Jackson says. "That's what it takes to be able to deal with issues such as poverty."
The first day of outpatient surgery was on December 1st.
Four people had the opportunity to receive free medical treatment courteousy of the partners of S.P.I.N.
Dr. Christie says in February he'll perform the next series of surgeries.