Dr. Ted Belanger, Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute has been leading a medical team to Ethiopia for the last several years. Their mission is to help people with severe spinal conditions with the latest in medical technology and techniques. Continue to follow their journey here on our blog.
Originally two patients were on the schedule today, but we had to cancel one because we didn’t have any units of blood for the first patient and he needed to see a neurosurgeon before spine surgery could fix his problem. He had O negative blood and is very difficult to find that in Ethiopia. It was very sad to tell him that we couldn’t do surgery because a lot of these patients are on a waiting list for a very long time before they get a chance to have surgery. We did get to continue to work on the second surgery that was scheduled. Her name was Eyerusilum and she had a T4-12 posterior fusion with instrumentation. We are so thankful Jonathon arrived today because now that Walt has left we needed someone to keep track of all our instruments and make sure the right boxes of stuff goes through sterile processing. Since we finished early today, Askinder who is one of the residents at Black Lion Hospital gave us a tour of Black Lion and showed us the Orthopedic building including the OR and Pediatrics ward. We were told that every person in Ethiopia had to donate 1 Birr (which is equal to 0.043 US dollars) to build this hospital. Abe, our driver, told us that anybody can receive free health care from Black Lion if they obtain a special voucher from their local government. We were excited to get to eat dinner earlier today and went to Casteli’s. On the way the police had made a roadblock to get everyone out of their cars and search and check each person. As Americans we were initially scared because we don’t see this in the U.S., but because we’re tourists and our driver had a tourism license we passed with no problem! Tomorrow we get to sleep in a little bit because we have clinic day and will see all of the patients from the past two years! We are excited because we will get to see the Bogale twins who came to America last winter to be treated amongst many others!