I am writing to tell you how grateful I am that you were the doctor assigned to perform my operation at Southern Philippines Medical Center. The competency of you and your team was awe inspiring, and I couldn't have been luckier that you were scheduled to be in the Philippines and was able to do the operation. I was an ordinary patient of ordinary means with extraordinary illness but your team took care of me as if I was the most important person on earth. God knows how dreadful I and my parents were when we learned that I have fibrous dysplasia, a very much unanticipated illness. The fact that I am capable of walking better is a miracle. I know that you probably save a lot of lives in a given year, but I want to let you know that this life is forever grateful. I thank heavens for you have performed the operation excellently and the nightmare of my illness slowly became a dream of recovery. Thank you isn't enough for the outstanding care and kindness shown to me and my family by Dr. Zirkle, SPMC ortho doctors, the nurses, the whole surgical team and anyone else who was involved in my care. I can't thank or praise you all enough. It wasn't the medicines but your reassuring words which gave me the strength to pull through my illness. My testimonial is less of recognition of your professional expertise but I can vouch for the fact that your abilities are unmatched. I earnestly pray to God that when I reached 17 years old, I would still be given the same rare opportunity to have you as my doctor. Thank you so much. You are such a blessing.
Your grateful patient, Ariane
Juliet, 30, was traveling in a taxi when the driver lost control and crashed into a hotel. Her leg was broken and her fingers crushed in the accident. She was rushed to a local hospital and transferred to Kumi Orthopaedic Center the next day.
“When I saw the x-ray and I saw my femur was broken, I was worried that I couldn’t walk again,” Juliet recalls. “I thought they would either amputate my leg or when I recover I’ll walk while limping.”
But her worries were calmed by Dr. John Ekure, who told her that a SIGN Nail was the ideal tool to treat her fractured femur. Dr. John performed SIGN Surgery, and Juliet was walking on crutches the following day. Juliet is grateful for the quick recovery that SIGN Surgery enables.
“I have one daughter,” she says. “Now that I can walk, I think we shall even start running together.”
Dinka and Sifan had recently gotten engaged and were excited to share the news with their families. They boarded a mini-bus to their hometown of Ambo, Ethiopia, but two hours into the journey the bus collided with a delivery truck. Four people were killed in the crash, and Sifan and Dinka were rushed to the local hospital – but it was not equipped to deal with the severity of their injuries.
The next day they were transferred to Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, where SIGN Surgeons evaluated them. Dinka and Sifan each had a fractured femur, and they both received SIGN Surgery on the same day.
As they waited for and recovered from their surgery, Dinka and Sifan were placed on different wards, but the hospital residents took notes back and forth so the young couple could stay in contact. Their injuries have fully healed, and they are excited to begin their lifelong journey together!
Choeun Pheakday needed two SIGN Nails, in the femur and tibia of her left leg following a traffic accident. She had to undergo two separate procedures because her system was not strong enough to handle both at the same time. Dr. Bunn at Preah Kossamak Hospital in Cambodia. Despite her severe injuries, Choeun was able to stand and walk, and she was discharged from the hospital 10 days after her second surgery.
Sek Saroeun comes from a family of poor subsistence farmers. The 18-year-old moved from a rural agricultural province to the bustling capital of Phnom Penh to find work and help support her parents. Crossing one of the city’s busy streets on her way to work, she was hit by a taxi, and the force fractured her femur.
The accident left her unable to work. Without her income, her whole family was stalled on the path out of poverty. Without SIGN, treatment via traction or cast would take up to three months — a long time to be without income and incurring hospital fees. But thanks to SIGN Surgery, she was discharged from the hospital within one week and back to work in one month.
Mary Ikoi, 26, is a mother of three and seven months pregnant. She lives in Torit, a rural community in South Sudan that has experienced widespread food insecurity, bordering on famine, since 2017. She had nothing to feed her children, so she climbed a tree to pick leaves that she could cook into a paste. She fell from the tree, breaking both of her femurs.
She was totally incapacitated. Her family's already dire situation had become much worse. Four days after her injury, she was brought to Juba Teaching Hospital, where Dr. Mapuor Mading was able to fix both of her legs with SIGN Fin Nails.
“I didn't know that I would ever walk again,” Mary says. “I thought the child in my womb would have a mother that could not walk.”
Just 10 days after surgery, Mary is walking and her pregnancy is progressing well.
Just a few days prior to his first day of school, Safiel Adam, 15, was involved in a road traffic accident, sustaining multiple traumas, including a fracture of the femur. He was taken to a hospital where all of his injuries were treated, except for his broken femur because the hospital did not have the implants needed. As a result, Safiel was put in traction, which failed to heal the fracture. He lay in the ward with his hope of joining his friends in secondary school diminishing more every day.
SIGN Surgeon Dr. Billy Haonga met Safiel during an outreach camp visit to the hospital and treated his fracture using a SIGN Implant. “There are no orthopaedic surgeons down there,” Dr. Billy said. “We usually travel to their places and operate on them.” Safiel was able to return to school the following week.
Four-year-old Evans was climbing a tree to pick fruit when he fell and fractured his femur. His family lives in rural northern Kenya, where they herd animals near Marsabit National Reserve. His parents were devastated to learn that their local hospital did not have capacity to perform orthopaedic surgery.
After several days worrying that he would become disabled, their hope returned when the local hospital referred him to Cottolengo Mission Hospital. Surgeons were able to provide free surgery and the SIGN Implants needed to stabilize his leg. The healing process began immediately; Just six weeks after surgery, he can walk, run, and play.
Like any young child, he is full of energy. His doctors report that he’s even talking about climbing trees again.
When she was 16 years old, Lipi had an accident that fractured her femur. She was treated with an intramedullary nail, but it became infected. She endured four unsuccessful surgeries at a local hospital. Her femur was shortened 3 inches by these treatments. Lipi’s family had used all their resources for those unsuccessful surgeries. She came to NITOR in Dhaka, Bangladesh, begging for her leg to be amputated.
Dr. Hossain met with her and convinced her to try one more surgery. With a donated SIGN Nail and a technique he learned at the SIGN Conference, Dr. Hossain was able to stabilize her fracture and extend the bone to its proper length.
Lipi, now 20, is able to walk with a crutch, and her x-rays show that her bone is healing. “She was so happy that she cried,” Dr. Hossain says. “After 4 years, she can walk with both limbs.”
Marwa lives in southern Afghanistan, and her village is the only one in the region that allows young girls to attend school. At age 13, she broke her leg, Her parents took her to the local bonesetter, who attempted to stabilize her fracture using wood and egg carton wraps. His efforts were unsuccessful, leaving her disabled.
She found her way to Dr. Ismail Wardak, who presented two options to treat her injury—a spica cast or surgery. Despite being afraid of injections and medical procedures, Marwa opted for surgery because she could heal and get back to school sooner.
Dr. Wardak used the SIGN Pediatric Fin Nail to stabilize her fracture and start the healing process. Just a few weeks later, Marwa was back in the classroom with her friends. If she had opted for the cast, she likely would have been out of school for three months.
“She was so happy to continue her lessons,” says Dr. Wardak.
The first thing that Sao Thy, a father of four, thought about as he lay in the road following his motorbike accident is how would he be able to keep his children in school if he could not walk. Public schools require tuition in Cambodia and unpaid students are quickly dispatched from the rolls.
“Education is the way to a better life for my children,” says Sao, 39. Four months after his SIGN Surgery, Sao was back at work and his children are still in school.