A Miracle of Surgery in Africa

It sounded like something out of a science fiction novel; brain surgery being performed in a rural African hospital via a remote link to a neurosurgical team in the United States.

She had severe Chorea (pronounced like Korea) – a movement disorder characterized by involuntary jerking movements that had made it impossible for her to move her arms and hands.

For similar patients in the West, deep brain stimulation (DBS) would be considered. But here in rural Africa, due to cost, risk of infection, and a host of other factors, DBS wasn’t an option. But a procedure called a pallitodomy was. This procedure involves precisely inserting a thin wire probe into a center deep within the brain. The location of the wire is evaluated by a movement disorders neurologist who watches an oscilloscope as the wire is guided millimeter by millimeter down through the brain.

Connected to a laptop computer and transmitting information from the probe to a team 8,000 miles away, Dr. Leland Albright performed the delicate procedure – millimeter by millimeter! The technology would be dependent on an internet connection via a precarious mobile phone stick-modem connection between Kijabe and the USA.

The procedure was a resounding success!

This operation, to our knowledge, was the first in the world to do a pallitodomy in one country with the information transmitted and analyzed real-time by a neurologist in another country. 

Jesus had put us exactly where we needed to be – and you gave us the tools to give this girl a hope and a future.

Thank you for all you do for the children we serve!

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