Over the last few years much awareness has been made for the need of surgical treatments in Third World countries. What a great way to do charity. I would like to share with you an incredible opportunity I had to be part of a surgical spine team that traveled to Ethiopia on a mission trip in order to perform complex spinal deformity surgeries. The following is my account of that trip:
I was introduced to Dr. Kamal Ibrahim. He’s an Orthopedic spine surgeon specializing in pediatric and adolescent spine surgery. Dr. Ibrahim has been practicing for about 34 years. He was even the head of SRS (Scoliosis Research Society) in 2011 – 2012. We planned for a May 2017 trip. Mervat Shenouda was our liaison helping us with all the logistics in Ethiopia. Our team consisted of Dr. Kamal Ibrahim as our team leader, myself, Dr. Samer Samy who is a Neurosurgeon from Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Makram Naguib and Dr. Peter who are Anesthesiologists from Cairo, Egypt, OR tech Francis Corpuz, scrub tech Stephanie Masella, James Reardon for neuromonitoring, and Marcella Ziemianski the Nuvasive representative who was our instrumentation coordinator. The ultimate goal of these trips to Ethiopia is to teach their local Neurosurgeon, Dr.Birhanu Michael, to be able to perform these types of surgeries on his own within the next few years. This is the type of charitable work I like where we help them become self-sufficient.
I landed in Addis Ababa on Tuesday night. Mervat picked me up from the airport and brought me to a hotel. During that ride I learned that Ethiopia has its own calendar and time. It is 2009. Ethiopian time is six hours before the actual time. For example, their 10 PM that night was actually 4 PM Ethiopian time. So you have to be very careful when you ask someone to meet you at a certain time. The rest of our team arrived at the airport throughout the night.