Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Groundbreaking surgery rejuvenates teen

Seventeen year old Werkitu Debebe was born with an incomplete “twin”, attached to her pelvis resulting in two additional incompletely developed legs.
“Growing up I thought everyone was like me and had this deformity. After third grade people began teasing me when they discovered my condition. It was then that I knew something was wrong with me and by seventh grade it became so bad I stopped going to school and began to hide at home because it became too much for me” Werkitu said.
Luckily home base care providers discovered at her home in Sebeta and brought her to Black Lion Hospital.
Then, on June 27, a multi-disciplinary team of doctors and surgeons removed the extra body parts during an eight hour procedure.
It was the first time in Ethiopia that a parasitic twin was separated successfully. This rare occurrence happens only once in 7 to 10 million births.
Werkitu said she and her family are extremely satisfied with the results. She thanked all those who helped her and her family who she credits with always taking good care of her.
“This successful surgery demonstrates the healthcare system and sector can be as outstanding as anywhere in the world” Dr. Eric Gokcen, Medical Director of The CURE said. “The way the medical staff worked together to provide the best care possible to the patient is an example of the highest level of teamwork. If the medical community cooperates like this and we keep getting support from the government healthcare, Ethiopians will be able to access quality healthcare” he added.   
Dr. Biruk Lambisso, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Black Lion Hospital envisions Ethiopia someday becoming a medical tourism site.  “We want people to come not only to visit historical sites but also to get premium medical care here in Ethiopia”
The Surgical Team was a cooperative partnership between senior surgeons from the CURE and the Black Lion Hospital. The doctors donated not only their time and expertise, but helped financially to cover the cost of the surgery.