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Visiting Doctors Perform Life-Changing Surgeries and Train CURE Surgeons


March 26, 2023, is a day that 22 children will remember as the day their lives changed forever. These children with missing thumbs and upper extremities received life-changing surgeries at CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia (CURE Ethiopia) by Dr. Scott H. Kozin, Chief of Staff at Shriners Children’s Hospitals in Philadelphia, and Dr. Duretti Fufa, Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. The doctors set aside time in their busy schedules each year to provide specialized surgeries for the children we serve at CURE Ethiopia. Because of CURE’s generous partners and donors, surgeries are provided free-of-charge to the patients we serve.


Dr. Scott Kozin examines Estifanos’s hands to determine what surgical care he will need at CURE.


Dr. Scott (left) & Dr. Duretti (right) take their time assessing patients’ needs.


When the doctors arrived at the hospital, the waiting room was filled with people holding babies, while other children played outside in the open-air compound. These children had been waiting for this opportunity for years and were excited to receive surgeries that would enable them to use their hands more efficiently.

Determined to provide the best possible care and improve the health of every individual in the room, the doctors quickly got to work examining each patient and discussing treatment options with them and their families. As they worked tirelessly throughout the day, they couldn’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment, knowing their efforts would make a significant difference in the lives of these patients. ”One of the reasons we come here is because of the CURE organization, individuals, physicians and nurses that work tirelessly to improve people’s lives,” said Dr. Scott Kozin.


Children play at CURE Ethiopia while they wait to be seen by the doctors.

Making the Impossible Possible


The diagnoses included a congenital absence of the thumb, missing fingers from amputation, and other deformities that can be corrected through pollicization surgery. This operation involves creating a functional thumb by transferring another finger (usually the index) to the thumb position.

The surgery increases children’s physical abilities as well as their self-esteem and confidence, allowing them to participate in previously impossible daily tasks, such as holding a pencil at school, throwing a ball, holding on to a jump rope, swinging, buttoning a shirt, and holding a spoon.

Over the course of five days, the surgeons performed surgeries for 22 children, which will help them live independently and enhance their overall quality of life.


Finding Hope for Fiseha


Among the 22 children who received treatment was four-year-old Fiseha. He was born with bilateral club hands (more severe on the right) and functionally useless thumbs. Fiseha’s thumbs were so underdeveloped that he needed to use his index and middle fingers to pick up things and perform various functions. CURE performed surgery on his right hand a few months ago, and he returned in March for surgery on his left hand.

“It breaks my heart whenever Fiseha struggles to feed himself,” said his father, Kindalem. He finally got his pollicization surgery after a long wait, and now he’s recovering well and learning to use his new fingers! CURE will continue to provide follow-up care as Fiseha heals.


(Left photo) Fiseha on his first day at CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia. (Right photo) Dr. Duretti (left) & Dr. Scott (right) with Dr. Laurence Wicks (middle) perform life-changing surgery at CURE Ethiopia.



CURE Surgeons Trained to Perform Surgeries  


Dr. Scott Kozin and Dr. Duretti Fufa training Dr. Tesfaye and Resident Dr. Yohannis.


Our visiting doctors’ expertise and dedication have been instrumental in helping the children we serve. They not only provided medical interventions and treatments but also shared their knowledge and skills with surgeons at CURE. Having Drs. Scott and Duretti train CURE Ethiopia’s surgeons ensures that the high-quality surgical care we provide will be sustained after they return to America. This long-term impact will enable us to restore the hands and upper extremities for more children in need of life-changing surgical care.



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CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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