Workitu, prior to surgery (Photo courtesy CURE International)
Ethiopia (CURE/MNN) ― Doctors at CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital in Addis Ababa have performed the first-ever separation of a parasitic twin from an adolescent girl in Ethiopia. This is an incredibly rare condition, occurring in approximately one out of every 10 million births.
A multi-disciplinary team of doctors and surgeons successfully performed the seven-hour procedure three weeks ago at CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital. Surgeons removed extra body parts from an adolescent girl.
The girl was born with an incomplete "twin," called a parasitic twin, attached to her pelvis, resulting in two additional incompletely developed arms and two additional legs. Aside from the complexity of the surgery itself, what makes this remarkable is that it is usually performed before the child is two years of age, or perhaps not at all.
"This successful surgery demonstrates the quality of health care that is now available in Ethiopia through the CURE hospital," said Dr. Eric Gokcen, Medical Director and Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at CURE Ethiopia.
"The fact that we were able to accomplish this in Ethiopia with a team of doctors from CURE and Black Lion speaks to the level of excellence we have been able to achieve." In addition, the cooperation of the medical staff is an example of the highest level of teamwork for the sake of the patient.
The surgical team was a cooperative partnership between senior surgeons from CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital and Black Lion Hospital, the public hospital in Addis Ababa. It was led by Dr. Gokcen. Through continued cooperation within the medical community, along with the support of the Ethiopian government, CURE believes that the standard of health care for disabled children and adults throughout Ethiopia will continue to rise.
Dale Brantner, President and CEO of CURE International, says their goal is to do everything with excellence. "This surgery is just one example of how our team in Addis Ababa continues to deliver the best possible medical care to disabled children throughout Ethiopia. It is also an example of the unique training opportunities CURE Ethiopia is able to make available as we seek to educate and equip local medical professionals to improve the overall quality of care throughout the region."
CURE International's focus on training is present at each of their facilities around the world. In Ethiopia, CURE is an approved training site for orthopedic surgery, life support, and nurse anesthesia, and is affiliated with the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa, the American Heart Association, and Addis Ababa University.
Beyond training, though, is the heart of CURE's mission: healing the sick and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. "Our single driving focus," said Brantner "is to follow Jesus' command to bring healing to the sick and proclaim His kingdom. For this girl and her family, that means meeting their immediate needs by lifting this physical burden as well as taking the time to pray with them and minister to their spiritual needs. The surgery and the ministry go hand-in-hand."
In fact, both the girl and her brother accepted Christ before her surgery. It demonstrates once again the beautiful healing--both physical and spiritual--that takes place at CURE hospitals.
According to the staff of CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital, the girl is excited about her future. She can now envision going back to school, getting married, and living a normal, productive life, something that until the surgery would have been inconceivable. She and her family are rejoicing and experiencing a new sense of freedom, both spiritually and physically.
CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital opened in January 2009 to provide comprehensive rehabilitative surgery and treatment for children with various disabling conditions. CURE Ethiopia has performed over 3,000 surgeries free of charge in the last three years and has seen thousands of people in its clinics. CURE is also a certified training site, partnering in the training and education of health care professionals in Ethiopia.
CURE International was founded by Dr. Scott and Sally Harrison as a result of the enormous need for medical and spiritual care they witnessed in their travels to developing nations. Since opening its first hospital in 1998 in Kenya, CURE has focused on providing first-world quality care to children who suffer from physical conditions that can be corrected or alleviated through medical and surgical intervention.
The organization's teaching hospitals and pediatric specialty programs operate in 25 countries. CURE is the largest provider of pediatric surgical care in the developing world. To date, the organization has seen more than 1.6 million patients, performed more than 128,000 surgeries, witnessed over 122,000 expressions of faith, and trained more than 5,200 national medical professionals.