Dr. Ted Belanger, one of Texas Back Institute’s orthopedic spine surgeons, is currently in Ethiopia where his is treating patients suffering from spinal conditions. Dr. Belanger will be sharing stories with us throughout his trip.
Below is his first blog entry!
Day 1: 3/18/2013
Arrived safe and sound this morning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Unfortunately, I am struggling with a cold that made my first day here pretty unproductive. I am hoping this will pass quickly. I am touching base with all of our various contacts here and getting some wild cases set up. My first one might be an os odontoideum with spinal cord compression and myelopathy. Yikes.
DAY 2: 3/19/2013
I am feeling a bit better. I accomplished a great deal yesterday. I saw 11 patients with various spine deformities in the clinic and we are finalizing workups to set them up for surgery. We may transfer a patient from another hospital that needs a C1-2 fusion (or so it has been suggested). I saw some old friends and met some new ones. I went to the customs authority to work on getting our supplies released, and I had to go through three large bins of equipment and identify each item and correlate it with the itemized list (think of….this is a tap, this is a screwdriver, this is a compressor, etc.) Luckily, I didn’t have to go to the length of identifying each individual screw by diameter and length. I did my best to stay positive and hide any impatience or American ego as best I could. Despite that major obstacle being overcome, our supplies have still not been released. I am hopeful they will be later today.
Day 4: 3/21/13
Did a big case yesterday. Pedicle subtraction osteotomy for a chronic fracture that collapsed into kyphosis after being fixed with a short construct by one of the local surgeons. Made it look pretty. Have two scoliosis cases to do today, and every day until I come home…