We’re now increasing the complexity of our care and helping previously untreatable kids. The reason? Traction.
“Traction” is a process in which the kids have 6 holes drilled in their skulls and a halo place around the head. They are then attached to a pulley system which can provide traction when walking, when sitting, and when lying down.
We’ve had 4 kids in traction for a few months now. I had a long talk tonight with Dr. Boachie in Ghana. All the traction kids have had surgery. Ephrem – the boy standing with his thumb up – is several inches taller now.
The normal teaching is that the worst a spine can get is 180 degrees – that’s like a pancake folded on top of itself. Ephem beats that though – his spine was shaped like a saxophone. So in fact, it’s like 240 degrees on top! A couple of months of traction reduced that to 120 degrees (only!) and Dr. Boachie operated on him all day yesterday.
We were delighted to phone his dad today and give him the latest update, and he was profoundly grateful.
We are now opening the door to more more effective procedures for some of the most deformed spines on the planet.
I recently was told of a traction case in New York City who had a medical bill of $1.5 million! We can do the same thing in Ghana for about 2% of that cost! Still, it is more expensive than our normal surgery, and we have to limit our numbers due to finances.
One cute kid from this group that just left, Sofonias, (it means Zephaniah in Amharic), is now in traction for a while before his surgery.
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