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Dr. Belanger’s Ethiopia Medical Mission Trip – Day 5

Dr. Belanger’s Ethiopia Medical Mission Trip – Day 5

We have been extremely busy and some of us have skipped dinner to go straight to bed at the end of the day. Some of our physicians and volunteers have gone back home, while a new doctor came in and immediately started surgery with Dr. Belanger.
It is amazing to see the how the trip has impacted the team. We have all realized how fortunate we are and how small our worries are comparatively. Many children here have struggled with back pain and deformity, but persevere. They worry about not having a bed to sleep in after a huge surgery. They worry that they won’t be able to pay for healthcare and that they may die. They are strong children, and they persevere.

None of the patients ever want to leave. They all love spending time with us, having food to eat, and having a bed to sleep in. Jason, Toni and Lauren had such a strong connection with many of the kids. Knowing that we won’t see them for another year is very sad.
Etsubdink is a girl we have become friends with and had surgery today. She had a hematoma and pressure on her spinal cord from a bone. We shaved off part of the bone which was putting pressure on the spinal cord and she is feeling much better now.
We helped Asalfew yesterday. He always wears a blazer and jeans and nice shoes and a sweater.  He is very sweet, we held his hand as he was going down for anesthesia. He took a while to wake up after surgery, but he woke up and was moving his toes and legs. The next patient we worked on is twenty years old. She is having an L1 VCR (Total) T10-L3 PSFI. A VCR is where you take out a vertebra and replace it with a cage. A PSFI is posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation.

We have done twelve cases so far, and will continue working hard until we return home.

Texas Back Institute