Letter from John Steffens:
My wife and I have been volunteering at an amazing hospital
in Bangladesh over the past few years. Donations are urgently needed
to purchase a C-Arm, a medical device that provides real time X-ray
imaging, for this facility which is the only hospital in Bangladesh
that specializes in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. This
piece of equipment costs about $35,000.
I hope you will support us to raise these funds for the Center
for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed in Bangladesh.
Background: The Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed
(CRP) is a non-profit, non-government organization started in Bangladesh
in 1979 by Valerie Taylor, to serve the disabled people of this most densely
populated country in the world. At its primary center in Savar, CRP each
year treats over 400 spinal cord injured patients within its 120 bed in
patient wards and provides comprehensive rehabilitation and out patient
services to more than 43,000 of some of the poorest people in this third
world developing country of over 160 million people. Most of these patients
with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic trauma, and other serious injuries
and disabilities, living in abject poverty, have no other options for
Focus & Vision: The underlying philosophy of CRP is to not
only provide acute medical care and treatment for disabled patients, but
also to provide a holistic approach for rehabilitation and vocational
training so that these individuals can return with confidence and dignity
to be productive members of their family and community. In addition to
medical and nursing care, CRP also provides Physical Therapy, Occupational
Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy, and Vocational Training programs.
A C-Arm is a real time digital X-ray imaging unit that allows
surgeons to view on adjacent monitors both current live procedural
images as well as initial reference images, with minimal radiation
exposure to patients, surgeons and operating room staff. This
real-time and more accurate feedback is critical for complex spinal
cord and orthopedic interventions.
Rationale: Within its acute care program, CRP utilizes two operating
rooms where its surgeons perform numerous procedures each week. However,
without the availability of a C-Arm they are extremely limited to the
kind of surgical interventions that can be performed. The lack of this
critical piece of equipment severely limits the number, type and effectiveness
of many potential surgical interventions. Many spine injured patients,
could receive immediate and lasting benefits from a corrective surgical
procedure but are unable to receive it without the availability of a
C-Arm. As a result, they must lie in immobilized traction on inpatient
wards for six weeks or longer waiting for natural healing to occur.
(See photos) At present, the average inpatient stay for a spinal cord
injured patient at CRP is 83 days verses the several days that it could
potentially be if a C-Arm was available to perform surgical fixation
Patients often lie immobilize in traction for six weeks without
surgical intervention. Having C-Arm will have great impact on
the care of these patients.
Impact: The positive impact and advantages
of the availability of a C-Arm unit at CRP include:
- Ability to perform more complex surgical procedures that cannot
be performed without real time imaging
- Reduction of 1-2 hours of time required to perform each major
surgical procedure, which significantly reduces the risk of anesthesia
complications and related morbidity.
- Less surgical time would allow many more surgical procedures to
be completed each week, resulting in shorter hospital stays and
more patient admissions.
- Greater accuracy of hardware placement with real time imaging
during surgery resulting in better outcomes and fewer complications.
You can make a donation to the CRP C-Arm Project
via the internet. Click
Once at Generosity in Action Donate page click on the CRP C-Arm
button. Note: there is a 3% transaction fee to cover credit card
fees, bank fees, and other processing costs.
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CRP's surgical team anticipates that a C-Arm unit would be utilized with
at least 80-100 spinal surgeries and 120-150 orthopedic surgeries each
year, many of which are not currently performed. There is currently a
number C-Arm units, manufactured and distributed by Siemens and Phillips,
located in Bangladesh at private and government hospitals. This would
make service contracts and spare parts readily available. Electrical requirements
of a C-Arm unit are compatible with the 220 volts electrical service currently
available at CRP and there are no consumable parts or supplies required
with this piece of equipment. Training of CRP technicians would be initially
provided on site by the equipment vendor.