Thank you Dr. Theodore Belanger!!!

1Thank you Dr. Theodore Belanger !!!!

You have now changed the lives of 144 Ethiopians!!


9 years ago, Dr. Ted Belanger traveled to Ethiopia from Dallas, where he practices spine surgery with Texas Back. He met Dr. Rick Hodes, director of JDC’s spine program in Addis Ababa. They have worked together for nearly a decade. The result? 144 spine surgeries, including 5 operated successfully in Dallas.

After a 1 week trip in 2010, Ted  now comes every year for 2 weeks, accompanied by  other surgeons and assistants, sponsored by Conscience International of Georgia.

I checked – over the years, Dr. Ted and I have exchanged well-over 700 emails. Several years ago, I was stuck in the Istanbul Airport for 24 hours. I stayed in the lounge and sent Dr. Ted 60 emails about potential surgical candidates for him to choose from.

This year I sent Dr. Ted information on 124 patients – that’s 32 gigabytes of data. 2 flash drives sent by Fedex. Dr. Ted puts up to 80 hours of planning into each mission. With frequent back-and-forth emails – Dr. Ted will send a list of potential surgical candidates. We interview them. Some really want surgery. Some may not be available. Some do not want to miss school. Some may refuse surgery. We put together a list, did extensive pre surgical testing of blood, urine, and lungs, and on day 1, Dr. Ted examined everyone and made the schedule. He started off easy, and then takes more complex cases.

Operating at MCM Christian Hospital,  in June Dr. Ted operated on 19 patients, including 4 with ankylosing spondylitis, complex scoliosis, and tuberculosis of the spine (Pott’s Disease).
Sp Haymanot Asmare 6-2011 - 7-2011 37Ted’s star patient? Haymanot, pictured here. Haymanot was a teen from Gojjam with a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. His spine was bending forward. In fact, his spine was parallel to the ground, and he walked with a stick. He was very malnourished. We gave nutritional support. Then we sent him to English school. He flew to Dallas, and Dr. Ted did a 14 hour surgery using an ultrasonic bone saw, making small cuts in over a dozen of Haymanot’s vertebrae. The next day Haymanot was straight. He is now back in school.

On his last day, former patients showed up for exams and to say thank you and for this photo op.

Dr. Ted deserves recognition – I have nominated Dr. Ted for the American Academy of Orthopedics Humanitarian Award for his work over the past 9 years.

We’re already starting  Dr. Ted’s potential  list for next year.

After 9 years of great effort, 144 Ethiopians are now in much better shape. Once again: Thank you Dr. Ted!

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