Conscience International’s 10-member medical team has returned to Ethiopia to perform more life-changing spinal surgeries for the many young people who live, otherwise, without hope for a normal life. Loaded down with six large suitcases of supplies and equipment, volunteers and surgeons from the Texas Back Institute (Dallas area) are in surgery today. Following is an excerpt from their first Blog submitted by Dr. Belanger’s daughter, Lauren, a volunteer.
“We started out the day seeing every single patient that we had scheduled for surgery within the next two and a half weeks. The process included an examination by Dr. Belanger, Dr. Putney, Dr. Berchuck, and Dr. Andrade. The stuff that we experience breaks your heart. There have been many tears shed already. Most of our patients are extremely young and very self-conscious of the way they look. Some don’t want you to look at them because of their back [deformities].
“The cases that Dr. Belanger doesn't pick [for] surgery are sent on a plane by themselves to Ghana to Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei. He is a surgeon who specializes in the extremely tough cases. An eight-year-old boy was sent back to us from Ghana with an infection in his incision that is deep into his spine and in the bone graph. The infection is so deep and complex that we are only going to take him into surgery for a clean out and then send him back to Ghana for his surgery. He is so sweet too! He smiles all the time and has the best attitude. What breaks my heart is that this small eight-year-old boy doesn’t have any family. He has gone through all of this by himself. I can’t help but tear up when he is around.
“There is also an 18- year- old girl whose kyphosis is so severe that she can barely walk; she has a huge lump on her back where her spine sticks out of her skin. She was very shy, but very sweet. I cannot wait to see what Ted (Belanger) can do for her. Her confidence level is going to be so high after this surgery. She didn’t want us to take her picture…because she didn’t want anyone to see her.
“We started our first surgery on a 16-year-old female, a big scoliosis case. This surgery consisted of putting in rods and screws to straighten out the spine to a more natural position. Today at post-op she was up and walking, smiling so big. When we took her back to her room her grandparents [were there.] The grandmother kissed her all over her face, and her grandfather was holding her hand. They were so happy to see her doing well.”
You, too, can help restore health, happiness, and a future for many people of Ethiopia who were born with spinal deformities. By choosing to give to Conscience International you help support young people, such as these, through the volunteer efforts of Dr. Belanger and his surgical teams who make annual trips to Ethiopia to perform corrective surgeries.
Choose the ‘Special Purpose’ option (third box down) and “Select a Designation” – Ethiopia. All donations are tax-deductible.