A year-end message for our supporters

Dear Friends and Supporters

Anaf and Abigail

New Spine Patients Graph

Total to date Morale is so high in our program, many former spine patients volunteer with us to help others.

We’ve had 352 Ethiopians operated on in Ghana through July, 2014. If this was done in the USA, it would cost $50 million dollars! Our cost in Ghana is significantly less than 10% of that.

We have a large volume of patients, with very severe deformities. Noted spine surgeon Professor Rajasekaran commented to me “You have the largest collection of the worst spines in the world.” Dr. Boachie said “Rick, I’ve never seen spines like in Ethiopia.”

Recently, Dr. Boachie visited us for 2 weeks. We analysed over 400 patients, some before surgery, and some after. We have hundreds of patients with angles over 100 degrees. And some with angles over 200 degrees! We have identified new deformities, which have never been reported – we call them saxophone spines, gamma-spines, and translocated spines.

We have a priority list: 68 patients have our highest priority, needing traction and surgery in the coming months. Another 48 have a slightly lower priority. Another 52 we hope to operate on in about a year. We have hundreds of patients needing surgery, to maintain their health.

Kids in traction

And while we have plans and priority lists, emergencies arise. Five year old Yosef Wondimu came in on December 2nd . He was carried in – his dad told us he is newly paralyzed –he could not walk for 6 weeks. Urgent MRI of the spine showed a spinal cord tumor in the middle of his spine, severely compressing his spinal cord. It appears to be benign. We are sending him to Ghana for urgent surgery by a neurosurgeon at FOCOS. Caring for a paralyzed boy is a full-time job, so we’re sending his mom with him. After surgery and rehabilitation, we hope Yosef will walk again.

Yosef Wondimu

We aim to send 100 spine patients to Ghana in 2015. A spine surgery costs $18-$20,000 in Ghana.
We need to raise $2 million. We are their only hope.

Spine patients in Ghana

Last week 15 spine patients showed up unexpectedly in clinic to give an Ethiopian shirt to Rick. Take a look at what they wrote:

A letter to Rick

And look at some of our patients:

Impressive patient stories

Our ultimate goal is to have a spine center in Addis Ababa to evaluate patients and perform basic surgery.

In the heart realm, we’ve gotten over 125 new patients this year. We sent 2 groups of 13 patients to India for cardiac surgery and procedures this year, and have funding to send another group shortly. And we’re treating 2 boys for bone cancer right now.

Where is your money going

Sisay before surgery

Sisay in Traction

Sisay after surgery

Zinash before and after

Whatever holidays you celebrate, we wish joy, health, happiness, and peace, and a great 2015 to you all.

Please support us as generously as you can. And forward this to all your friends and family.

Dr. Rick Hodes and the JDC-Ethiopian spine and heart team.

Donation through the website links to the JDC donations site, and is fully tax-deductible. 100% goes to our project in Ethiopia. Contact us with questions about mailing checks. ethiopianspines@gmail.com