Senia’s emergency trip to Ghana

IMG_4533In mid-June, 9-year-old Senia was carried into our clinic in Addis Ababa. She is from the “Silte” ethnic group, a unique group numbering about 750,000 – less than 1% of the Ethiopian population. She only speaks Silte language. Her dedicated parents are farmers. Her dad said to me “I have very little money, but I’ll do anything I can to help my daughter to walk again.”

They told us that she could not walk for about four months. First, one leg stopped working, then some weeks later, a second leg stopped working. She has difficulty controlling her urine, and upon exam, has sustained clonus and an upgoing toe.

Her CT scan shows that she has a severe deformity that we characterize as a “gamma.” With traction and surgery, it is possible that she may walk again. Without this, she will certainly remain paralyzed and lose more function. In that case, she can easily die in the next year.

We jumped into action. Last Friday, Dr. Rick flew with her and another patient to FOCOS Hospital in Accra, for traction and surgery. Fortunately, we have a boy named Mohammednur already in Ghana who speaks both Amharic and Silte language, so he can translate for her.

FOCOS is filled with Ethiopian spine patients, and we present photos of them. We are delighted to see their progress. Several months ago, Dr. Rick brought Beshir (blue shirt), a paralyzed boy, back to Ghana for intense physical therapy. Now he has some control of his right leg and is fully continent.

We greatly appreciate your help and ask for your continued support for Senia and the rest of our patients. And keep praying for all our patients!

All my best,

Dr. Rick

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