“There are people who laugh at me. I do get upset because of that,” shares Catherine.
Catherine’s condition was very visible, and she attracted attention because of it. She appeared to be shorter than her actual height because of her severely bowed legs. This 13-year-old girl comes from the northern part of the country and never had medical attention for her condition prior to coming to CURE Zambia. It was evident from a very young age that Catherine had a problem with her legs, but sadly, there were no facilities in her village where she could get treatment.
Mobility was the biggest challenge for Catherine. She was unable to walk long distances and could not do most household chores. However, Catherine did attend school. Her school is not very far from home, but she faced challenges getting there. Oftentimes someone had to carry her on their back!
Patricia, Catherine’s sister, relocated from the northern part of the country to a district that is closer to Lusaka. One day, Patricia visited a child who was admitted to CURE Zambia. Upon seeing this child with a similar condition to Catherine, she realized that her sister may be able to find help at CURE Zambia as well. She immediately got information about the criteria used to bring kids to CURE Zambia. She contacted people in Catherine’s village, and a few weeks later, Catherine was brought to the hospital for treatment.
Catherine was admitted to CURE Zambia and had surgery. Dr. Lastroni did a proximal tibia wedge osteotomy and fibula osteotomy on both legs, and a long leg cast was put on to hold the legs together with a 90-degree correction. A few days after she recovered from the surgery she was discharged and returned home. Patrica tells us that ever since Catherine’s been home, she has been happy. Shortly after returning home, she attempted to make movements despite having casts on both her legs.
When Catherine came back for her follow up visit, it was all good news. After removing the casts, her legs appeared to be straight and an X-ray confirmed the correction! What followed was physical therapy and learning how to walk with straight legs. Catherine was back to a normal height with a greater chance of her living a prosperous and healthy life.
Catherine has one remaining surgery which will put her feet in the correct position and assist her with walking on her new straight legs.
About the Beit-CURE Children’s Hospital of Zambia
Established in 2006, CURE Zambia performs over 2,500 life-changing reconstructive, orthopedic, ENT, and audiological surgeries each year for children suffering from treatable disabilities. Strategically located in Lusaka, the teaching hospital comprises six buildings, 54 beds, and three operating theatres. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE Zambia ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities. The Beit Trust, a UK-based charity, provided the funding for this facility as a centennial gift to the people of Zambia. CURE Zambia is a strategic partner with the Ministry of Health.