Today I walked into “the theatre” as they call it here in Cochin – in the US we’d say “operating room,” to see Almaz’s chest cracked open and a fine team of surgeons working to replace her mitral valve. This evening after dinner you can see her in the ICU, doing well.
11 surgeries or procedures now complete, 1 procedure needs to be followed by a surgery in the coming weeks or months, 1 patient was found to have a complex problem better treated without surgery at this moment, but he too is feeling a lot better now.
The gratitude is tremendous – patients trying to kiss my feet in thanks (Ethiopian culture does that), and the hospital staff who thank me for allowing them to help these people. A consultant neurologist teared up when she was taking a history and one of our girls said she’s an orphan living in a mission facility. They also love Berhanu, our JDC staff person who is here for the 4th time and who sleeps on a cot in a room with several patients every night to translate.
Berhanu discovered an Ethiopian Somali medical student here, and Abdi has been helpful volunteering with our patients as well.
4 or 5 patients will leave the hospital tomorrow, and we hope to get them back to Addis Ababa in a week or 2.
Chag Someach from Cochin!
– Dr. Rick Hodes
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