Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Ethiopia Spine Surgery Mission 2018 – Days 1-3

Ethiopia Spine Surgery Mission 2018

Day 1 Wednesday

Dr. Theodore Belanger, Walt Evans, Ashton Wise, Dr. Jeff Angobaldo and I (Toni Belanger) arrived on Wednesday May 16that 12:30am after a 16-hour flight. Our driver, Abe whom we have used for the past 4 years greeted us at the airport. We arrived at the hotel and finally got in the bed around 2am exhausted! Can’t post this because we don’t have wi-fi… will post when available.


Day 2 Thursday

Today was Thursday May 17th, 2018. We all woke up around 6am and went downstairs to have breakfast. After breakfast we gathered all our medical supplies and headed to the hospital. We arrived there around 8am. All of the staff were excited to see us. Walt started going through all the instrumentation and supplies getting them ready to start our surgeries tomorrow. Everyone else headed downstairs to clinic to see our pre-op patients and a few of our post-op patients from years past.

We saw about 35 patients total yesterday. All of our post op patients were doing well. Dr. Angobaldo will be doing some breast reductions and tumor removals during his stay this week.

After clinic we all went to the Beer Garden inn for dinner where Dr. Rick Hodes met us. It was an early night as we were all tired from travel and lack of sleep.  Good night!  Still can’t post this because we don’t have wi-fi… will post when available.


Day 3 Friday

Good morning! Well I knew going to bed early that we would be awake at 3am and I was correct! No sleep for the weary they say. We are still currently sitting in the room trying to mentally prepare for our first 2 cases today. After seeing our pre-ops yesterday, we learned that the “easier” cases we picked to start off our first day are now in fact much harder.  Our first case will be Bethlehem, a 14 yr female who had a 53-degree scoliosis curve just 2 months ago and now it’s 77 degrees. Our second case will be Yordonnas, a 19 yr male who had an 82-degree scoliosis also a few months ago and his now measures 107 degrees! No better time to just jump right in and go to work!

We have now finished one surgery and we are working on the second case. It is currently 6 pm, we have been at the hospital for 10 hours so far…

Dr. Angobaldo was consulted to come see a 3 yr old burn victim in the OPD (outpatient department). 2 weeks ago, she was wearing a flowy dress and it caught fire and burned her terribly on her entire chest and stomach. I could almost not bare to see her screaming as they were taking off her bandage. If we can get a special instrument from another hospital then Dr. Angobaldo will be doing a skin graft on her tomorrow.

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