October 1, 2012

Dr. Kathy Gross, one of our Pediatricians, spoke with the father of one of the children and the following are her notes.

Yididiya is a 9-year-old boy who lives a days journey from Addis. He came with his father to have surgery, to correct a cleft palate. He also has a birth abnormality of the bones of his neck and upper spine, so that he has a shorter neck than normal, which results in a webbed appearance to the base of his neck. Despite the boney abnormality, he was still able to move his neck well. He has had problems learning to speak because of the wide defect in the roof of his mouth.

Yididiya and his father arrived in Addis on the first day of our clinic. He was dressed beautifully in a suit with a waistcoat, white shirt and polished dress shoes. He has a lovely smile like his dad and his large eyes gleamed with mischief. When we asked about his endurance, we learned that he is a keen soccer player and a good student at school. He and his dad are very close because Yididiya’s mother died of breast cancer when he was two years old.

He went to the operating room the next day without fear, nestled into the arms of nurse Irena Ray, as she carried him into the operating theatre. The operation was done by Angelo Capozzi, but was a difficult and challenging operation to do, and took about 4 hours. After the surgery, he had to stay most of the day in the post-anaesthetic recovery room. All of us were concerned. He stoically coped with the discomfort and repeated check-ups that we needed to do.

Every time I went out to his dad to give him a progress report, his dad said, “No problem.” He said that he knew his son was in good hands. He blessed us and thanked God for his son’s surgery. Over the next 12 hours, Yididiya finally stabilized. He spent another 3 days with us recuperating and none of us wanted to see him leave.

Today, he and his dad headed home in good spirits and they epitomize the strength, trust, and faith that many families share in Ethiopia.

Dr. Cathy Gross with Yididiya and Father
“It is truly touching to be able to help these people and I am glad to be here.” – Katherine Gross

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