Sunday, February 28, 2010


Al and Shari Newman from Portland, Oregon, spent two weeks with us.  Al is in a large orthopaedic group in Oregon and formerly headed up a sports medicine department at Utah.  Shari is in real estate and is an accomplished photographer. There was no shortage of subject matter around this place!  Al served us well with his expertise in general orthopaedics and was able to do our first arthroscopy of the knee. Al helped us with our new Sign nails, as well as with out- patient care. He also brought us some much needed arthroscopy equipment. They got around the town exploring and out of the city to see some historic sites. We all enjoyed having them with us and their contribution to MCM, and we look forward to their return to our campus in the future.
    Josh Langford and Brad Cantrell, his brother-in-law, arrived February 10. Josh is a young trauma surgeon from Orlando, Florida. He does a lot of pelvic and acetabular fractures and does a great deal of work in limb salvage. We had a case waiting for him. The patient had a road trauma accident a year ago and was advised amputation. He refused and after long surgeries and skin grafting, Josh did a bone transport using Taylor frames. He also helped with some other complicated cases salvaging the extremity as well as general trauma. When he wasn’t working, the Norwegian neurosurgeons took them mountain climbing. It took him 3 days to recover! Brad attends the University of North Florida and enjoys astronomy. I learned about a lot of things over my head I never dreamed about!
    The day after Josh and Brad arrived, Stan Topple and his wife Mia arrived from North Carolina. Their plane was to arrive from Istanbul, at 1:30 AM but was delayed till 3:30 (I slept in the car in the parking lot!). At this point we had four American Orthopaedic Surgeons on campus at one time. It was a historic moment.
    Stan was a missionary orthopaedic surgeon to South Korea for 22 years. He met Mia there as she was a missionary dermatologist from Norway. He says that together they are “skin and bones!" They are fluent in Korean, which thrills the Korean staff. They also spent many years in Kenya, serving Eastern Africa. Stan’s extensive experience, wisdom and gentle manner have been an inspiration to us. We would like to keep them, but they are headed to Australia before returning to Montreat, NC.
    Al and Shari, Josh and Brad, and Stan and Mia have been an enormous boost to the orthopaedic project at MCM. Before them Em and Glen Barden endeared themselves to us here. All in all we have made some significant strides in this short time. They all visited and lectured the staff and residents at Black Lion. They helped establish a meaningful line of communication with Dr. Woubellem and her staff at Black Lion. As a result of these combined efforts we will be a part of the University of Addis Ababa teaching program of orthopaedic residents and will have the residents on site this spring.
    Our new CT scanner was installed and inaugurated this week as well as our new C-arm in the OR. Construction has started on the new intensive care unit. We have been given the go-ahead for a dedicated orthopaedic suite with staff  in the surgical theater! Trauma patients will no longer be delayed. Each of the visiting consultants has had a part in these noteworthy changes. Many, many thank--now you must consider a longer commitment to teach these young Ethiopians.
    Dr. Dan Vestal (Coordinator Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) and Becky Smith (consultant) are in country now with David Harding, Ben and Kelly Taylor of Water is Life's well-drilling project--to bring clean potable water to under-served areas. They have spent several days with us and explored developing relationships in  the U.S. to further our orthopaedic project. They will return to Addis Ababa to wrap up their visit.
    We moved into our new apartment several weeks ago. The building is new and there are a lot of rough spots that had to be resolved (no power, no water, no internet, plumbing leaks). The internet has been down 80-90% of the time and this makes communicating difficult. However, slowly most of these things are being resolved and Barbara is enjoying a complete kitchen. Of course we brought her little Italian oven with us from the old guest house and she’s happy about that. Decorating and getting new furniture has been fun as well as time consuming.
    Barbara and I leave next Saturday morning (2:30 AM) for the states. I will attend the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in New Orleans, and do some chores at home before returning to Addis Ababa, around the first of April.
    (See slideshow in the sidebar. Also, see the Links section near the bottom of the sidebar.)

-- Don