The Patients of Operation Walk 2011-Nepal
Pramod is a 26-year-old teacher from Janakphur, Nepal. He suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a disease that causes the joints and spine to fuse, thus restricting range and ease of movement. Last year, Pramod was screened by Dr. Ram K. Shah, head of the Orthopedic Department at Nepal Medical College. Dr. Shah runs an outreach program for individuals who may benefit from joint replacement surgery but are unable to afford treatment. It was Dr. Shah’s hope that this surgery would provide Pramod with the means to lift himself out of poverty and rid himself of the stigma of disability. Often times in villages like Pramod’s, people who suffer from debilitating diseases are seen as less than human and are not afforded opportunities given to others.
Dr. Shah felt that Pramod would be the perfect candidate for Operation Walk. He told Pramod that the organization would be coming to Nepal the following year and could provide him the surgeries he so desperately needed. Pramod was troubled because he lives in extreme poverty and did not have the means to make a second trip to Kathmandu. Dr. Shah promised to pay for Pramod and his brother’s transportation costs and the nominal fee charged by the hospital that covered the cost of labs, laundry and meals. Each week that passed, Pramod would call for updates on the status of Operation Walk. This November, Pramod got the news that it was time for him to receive his surgery.
Pramod was screened by the team during the initial day of Operation Walk and was slated to have surgery the following Sunday. Dr. William Long and Dr. Brett Greenky performed bilateral hip surgery that lasted a little over four hours. The next morning, Pramod was able to stand and walk for the first time. He continues to work on both mobility and flexibility. The doctors replaced not only the deformed and fused bone, but also released the soft tissue around the hip to afford Pramod with increased range of motion. Pramod has thrown himself into his exercises and delights the physical therapy staff with his positive attitude. He continues to get stronger with each session.
Through the reduction of his disability, Pramod will be able to reclaim his place in his community, earn a living, marry and have a family of his own one day. Dr. Shah framed the mission that we are all invested in Operation Walk by so clearly stating: “We are here as human beings to generate hope and by generating hope we generate life.”
This hope shines in Pramod’s eyes with each new step he takes.