The patients of SIRC – who are they?

Some of you have been interested to know what kinds of people have been newly injured in the recent earthquakes and the kinds of medical care and rehabilitation the SIRC team’s are providing.  Great question!

A patient’s story is taken as part of the intake process at SIRC and the following is a direct extract from the records.  Don’t worry, I have their permission to share it with you.

Kaami Lama, from the north east of Kathmandu, was one of these terrified patients. On the day of the earthquake his house collapsed and he was trapped in rubble, unable to move or call for help. Thankfully, he was rescued, but when he emerged from the remnants of his home he saw his village and the life that he knew devastated. Kaami was airlifted to hospital in Kathmandu, received spinal surgery and was then transferred to SIRC where his rehabilitation has begun.

The building fell on Kaami’s back and he sustained spinal fractures. Initially he could feel little sensation in his legs then gradually the sensation started to return. He however still had an unstable fractured vertebrae which if left untreated could lead to permanent paralysis. Following surgery to stabilise the fracture Kaami was transferred to SIRC. With the help of the therapists he slowly began to mobilise, transferring from bed to wheelchair and beginning standing and walking practice. He is now mobilising independently using a walking frame. He should continue to improve. He is extremely determined but worries about the future not just of himself but his entire village.



Kaami was very fortunate he had no damage to his spinal cord and receive his surgery so soon after injury.  And of course receive SCI rehabilitation from the team at SIRC so quickly, thus avoiding the potential for paralysis.

And the next story …..

Buddhi Bahadur Tamang is 76 years old and was admitted to SIRC following the first earthquake.  He comes from Dhading, one of the worst affected areas.  He has an incomplete spinal injury and is currently receiving rehabilitation.  With the help of the therapists he continues to improve and will soon be walking again.  Buddhi’s daughter is staying at the Centre to care for him.  She is also working as a volunteer in SIRC’s canteen.

Buddhi Bahadur Tamang ©SIRC

Buddhi Bahadur Tamang ©SIRC

Again Buddhi Bahadur Tamang is fortunate to receive SCI rehabilitation so quickly, giving him a chance to walk again.

His daughter volunteering at SIRC’s kitchen is typical of the generosity of spirit of the Nepalese – despite having to care for her own father, she still sees it as important to give her time and cooking skills to ensure what is now four times the usual number of people to be fed every day, get the nourishment they need to get well.

I am humbled by these folks who have suffered so much yet continue to give.  Aren’t you?

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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