For 17 years a boy in Nigeria lived with unbearable pain and humiliation from a deformity of his hands and feet. He was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.
Then Dr. Asuquo Inyang and his volunteer surgical team performed an operation that changed his life.
“He was unable to wear shoes because of the extra digits sticking out and causing unbearable pain,” Dr. Inyang described. “He was also embarrassed by the fact that he had six fingers on his hands and would not show his hands in public. His friends would not shake hands with him because of the perceived superstitious belief that his condition was contagious and could be transmitted to them.”
The surgery was possible because Dr. Asuquo Inyang traveled with the EFIK National Association, Inc. to the Calabar Women and Children’s Hospital in Calabar, Nigeria as part of a week-long volunteer medical and surgical trip. During the trip, Dr. Inyang and his team provided care to 2,935 patients and performed 275 surgeries. The trip and hundreds more like it are supported by Americares Medical Outreach program.
In addition to the anesthesia and surgical supplies, including gauze, sponges and bandages donated from Americares, Dr. Inyang said that the most impactful items provided by Americares were five pulse oximeters.
“These were the only pulse oximeters in the entire hospital. It made it possible for us to provide safe anesthesia and surgery and allowed better monitoring of patients in the post-operative period.”
With the use of these donated items, Dr. Inyang and his teams were successfully able to remove the extra digits from the boy’s hands and feet and monitor his condition during and after surgery.
The results for the boy were incredible and far-reaching. “Now, our patient is able to wear shoes, can afford to show his hands in public and not put his hands in his pocket all the time.”
In a given year, Americares supports more than 1,000 volunteer medical trips with medicines and supplies to treat patients in over 80 countries. Americares also supports teams with educational and training resources through our Medical Outreach Exchange site. Additionally, through the Safe Surgery Initiative, Americares is working with teams such as Dr. Inyang’s to improve access to safe surgery in low-resource settings by providing pulse oximeters and increasing access to training on pulse oximetry and implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.