Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | October 13, 2009
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'Thank you, docs' - Parents grateful for free spine surgery - Overseas doctors welcomed to children's hospital

Dr Edgar Abbott (left), orthopedic surgeon, Beverley Needham (centre), chief executive officer at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, and William Mahfood, managing director of Wisynco, have a lively discussion at yesterday's luncheon for visiting doctors from the Straight Caribbean Spine Foundation. Wisynco also donated computers to the hospital. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Several children with complex spinal conditions will be able to rest easier because of the philanthropy of a group of doctors who are in the island to perform operations this week.

For Claudette Richards, this is a relief. Her 12-year-old daughter, Kayla, found out that she had scoliosis at the age of 10 and it has brought much discomfort to her. She is, however, happy that her daughter will have a better life after the operation.

"I am grateful for this opportunity because I know I couldn't pay for it," she told The Gleaner.

"I just want to thank God and the doctors who chose my daughter to do this operation."

Doubly happy

Another grateful parent is Wallace Henry. He is doubly happy because, two months after finding out that his daughter had scoliosis, she is getting the operation which his working-class salary could not afford.

"I like it, you know. I appreciate it. It is good because I don't believe I could afford for my daughter to do surgery, so I really appreciate what they have done," he said.

The parents were at a luncheon welcoming the team of doctors and medical workers to the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew.

The doctors come to the island under the auspices of the Straight Caribbean Spine Foundation that was formed by Dr Robert Brady to help improve the health of impoverished children.

Brady, who is of Jamaican parentage, credits his father and his love for the island for his project.

"The inspiration comes from my father. My father dedicated his life to helping people. I knew when I started medical school, I knew I wanted to give back something more than just an occupation, so that is where the impetus comes from," he said.

During the foundation's semi-annual visits to the island, 30 to 40 children were screened with six to 10 children operated on. These operations take place over a period of three days.

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