Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Ethiopia Mission Trip 2016- Day 5


Ethiopia Day 5, 2016

We started the day out with two patients Semira, a twenty four year old female, and Abemelek, a seven-year-old boy.  Since Dr. Bess arrived yesterday we have the ability to operate in two rooms at once. Dr. Bess is operating on Abemelek. When we brought Abemelek back to surgery it was obvious he was scared. He started to cry, so we went and got his mom to come and sit with him while we were getting the room ready for surgery. Then when we brought him back to operate he started crying again because his mom couldn’t come into the operating room. Thankfully Lucy came to the rescue when she pulled out her phone and gave it to him to play a star wars game. You would think he wouldn’t know how to play it, but this kid was kicking butt right off the bat! Dr. Belanger was in the other room getting started on Semira, she wasn’t as scared to go back to surgery. I think she was more excited than anything. We decided we had the right technique by going to the hospital early to get everyone started and give them an extra push. We didn’t do that today and we got behind. We were all just pacing around waiting for something to happen.

Later in the day after both surgeries were under way we went and did rounds on all of the patients. Someone had come to tell us the quadriplegic patient from yesterday could not breath. They put him on an oxygen tank while they were waiting on us to get to the room and when we saw his condition we immediately wrote orders to move him into the ICU. When we moved him into the ICU bed we saw that his neck where he had his surgery had been pouring blood out all night. We ran to get sutures and we had to sew his incision shut. The patients name was Shiribu and he had brought all eight of his family members. So after we finished getting him cleaned up, we went and spoke to his family. His brother told me he was the youngest out of all of the family members, and the fact that he was going to be quadriplegic for the rest of his life broke my heart. His brother shook my hand and told me no matter what the outcome of the surgery that he was so glad that we tried to fix his brother. After we got Shiribu situated we went and rounded on the rest of the patients. I helped get two of the patients up and made them walk. They are all doing so good! Eyol might get to go home tomorrow, but when I changed his bandage there was a possible CSF leak so we had Dr. Bess check on him after he scrubbed out.

When Abemelek got out of surgery today and was able to head back to a hospital room his mom, and all of his family were so happy to see him. It was the sweetest thing. Both cases went very well today without any complications. I can’t wait to see how all of our patients turn out in a year when we come back! Eyol told me he wanted to be a spine surgeon and he was going to go to Harvard. I had patients tell me that they were going to be spine surgeons last year as well because they are so inspired by what Dr. Belanger can do. I am so lucky to be a part of everything that is going on here. I am beyond proud to be a part of it, and to be able to shadow and help Dr. Ted Belanger.

After we rounded I took Lucy around and showed her the medical school, and the church on the hospital grounds and gave her a tour. It really is an incredible hospital compared to the rest of the ones here in Addis Ababa.

I can’t wait for next year already!

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