Able is an 18 year old living in Addis Ababa. Several years ago he noticed that he was no longer able to run with the other boys. He had to stop playing football (soccer). Now he gets short of breath with very little exertion. One of the valves in his heart has been progressively damaged by repeated exposure to Strep bacteria. All the blood that his body needs to function must pass through an extremely small opening. His family brought him to the Black Lion hospital in hopes that he would be one of the few patient selected for the balloon valvuloplasty procedure to open his valve.
We screened 24 patients our first day to identify the 12 we would be able to help. It's a difficult and potentially dangerous procedure so we make our selections with much caution and prayer. At the same time, for most of these people, it's their only hope.
Abel made the cut because of the severity of his disease and the lack of alternatives
The next day he was discharged from the hospital doing well. We will see him again this week to mark his progress.
Aziza is another patient we were able to help.
We are in Ethiopia with a team sponsored by Children's Surgery International and Lifestream Foundation. Along with Woubashet Ayenew a cardiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, Ben Johnson a cardiology fellow from HCMC and Brinder Kanda a fellow of cardiac structural intervention at Abbot. We are working along side the staff at the Cardiac Center of Ethiopia, a part of the Black Lion Hospital.
We will be in Ethiopia for 5 more days.