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 LAMA ©SIRC

KAAMI LAMA ©SIRC

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 25+ years in the investment management industry, I packed in my job and spent 2014 living and working in Nepal and Bangladesh, and visited some other places in between. It took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and it's people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Sanga foothills. Since 2014, I have continued my warm relationship with SIRC and worked closely with my friends there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes to date. 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 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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