Eight children undergo corrective spinal surgery
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November 19, 2013
Eight children undergo corrective spinal surgery

Children from across the region are now able to stand taller, after undergoing corrective spinal surgery in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Last week, under the World Pediatric Project (WPP), a seven-member team from Richmond, Virginia, journeyed to St Vincent and the Grenadines to administer corrective surgery to eight children, who were suffering from scoliosis, which is curvature of the spinal cord.

Eastern Caribbean representative for WPP Jacqueline Browne-King told SEARCHLIGHT on Friday that the children are doing extremely well since their surgery.

“Of the eight cases that were done, all of them had been out of bed…by day one. They have done and continue to do well. They should be discharged between Saturday and Sunday. On the ward right now, we have a St Lucian, Grenadian, Kittitian and Antiguan.

“They should be getting ready to go home, at least by Monday, Tuesday latest,” she said.

In fact, when SEARCHLIGHT visited the ward with Browne-King on Friday, we were greeted by the good news that one of the girls had walked to the bathroom by herself.

Another of the patients, a tall young lady, was in session with her physiotherapist, who was ensuring that she did not slouch into her former position.

The Eastern Caribbean representative also revealed that the usually very costly operations were done free of cost to the patients.

“Each screw that was inserted into each child, one of the screws costs US$1,000, with the total cost of the surgery being over US$160,000,” she explained.

“The regional families just paid their monies to come, they brought their images, they donated blood for the children and the rest is being absorbed by the Government.”

Browne-King also explained that the hardware, which includes the US$1,000 titanium screws, were donated by a company that is owned by Justin Holland, one of the members of the team.

Browne-King expressed pleasure at being able to facilitate a programme with a worthy cause, which since 2002, has been benefitting not only St Vincent and the Grenadines, but all of the countries in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and most recently, Suriname.

“We really felt very pleased with the outcome and we are pleased that the doctors continue to come. They enjoy coming. They enjoy providing service; they give of their time and we really appreciate that,” she said.

Nine missions come to St Vincent and the Grenadines each year, under the WPP umbrella.

The Eastern Caribbean representative revealed that since 2002, 25 cases of scoliosis have been corrected at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the hub for surgeries in the OECS, under the WPP.

She commended the staff at the operating theatres and everyone that plays a part in the project, including pediatrician Dr Bharati Datta and orthopedic surgeon Dr Charles Woods.

The WPP is a humanitarian, nonprofit organization that is based in Richmond, Virginia and caters to children from birth to the age of 21 years old. Since 2002, the project has established programmes in the Eastern Caribbean and Central America.

The seven-member team, which included surgeons, an anesthesiologist and a donor of the hardware used in surgery, arrived on November 9 and left on Saturday.

The team conducted 10 surgeries, the other two being minor cases.