Posts Tagged hydrocephalus

Dr. Benjamin Warf to be named Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida Chair

ben_warfWe are pleased to announce yet another esteemed recognition for pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Warf. On Wednesday, Dr. Warf will be named the inaugural incumbent Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida Chair at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Warf currently serves at the Boston Children’s Hospital as an Associate in Neurosurgery and Director of Neonatal and Congenital Anomaly Neurosurgery, as well as serving as Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard University. CURE supporters may know Dr. Warf best as the founding Medical Director of CURE Uganda. He currently serves on CURE’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Warf earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1984. In 2000, Dr. Warf, his wife, and their six children left the United States to serve at CURE Uganda. While there, he pioneered the ETV/CPC procedure for treating hydrocephalus, which has since revolutionized the treatment of hydrocephalus worldwide.

Wednesday’s honor will be the latest in a long line of accolades for Dr. Warf. Amongst many other awards and achievements, Dr. Warf was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation in 2012, at which time he was made a Fellow and awarded the Genius Grant.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Warf on his most recent accomplishment!

Little Bodies, Big Hearts

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A baby recovering at CURE Uganda

The fingers wrapped around my fingers are so little.

Little fingers that are attached to little hands and arms and bodies. There are ten tiny toes at the end of wiggling legs and two perfectly formed feet. A small but strong heartbeat resonates in the bare-skinned chest that rises and falls with my soothing strokes.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb. –Psalm 139:13

It surprises me to realize that I’ve had a desk at CURE Headquarters for almost 6 months now. I spend my days educating others about CURE’s mission to live out Luke 9:2, “Healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God.” But that balmy, rain-filled Friday in Uganda was the first time my feet walked on CURE soil, a living, breathing place full of hope, life, and restoration. The lettering on the sign was familiar to my American eyes, but innately I knew there would be little else that was familiar.

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A view of Uganda while hiking in Sipi Falls

At CURE Uganda, there are babies everywhere: babies in arms, on backs, in beds, in and out of both the ward and the operating room. It’s impossible not to see the babies. Doors swish open and closed as nurses shuttle patients and medication. Footsteps fill the mazes of brick paths and blue pillars as meals are served, laundry is done, and children are healed. I’ve seen their pictures and read their stories, but nothing could prepare me for the familiar feeling of the soft, smoother baby skin jarringly stretched to encompass the life-threatening collection of fluids. The sickness is visible. It is impossible not to see it. It is impossible not to see the babies.

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A child recovering in intensive care at CURE Uganda

There are many parts of CURE – important parts, essential parts – that can get overlooked in the shuffle of the illness and the swollen heads, the protruding spinal growths and the cries of sunset-eyed little ones. There are so many things that demand attention that it’s easy to miss the women. They’re quiet. In fact, I rarely hear them speak. My white skin and inherently ethnocentric knowledge of languages makes its almost impossible to communicate. I know almost nothing about them. Yet, when I look at their faces, the familiar eyes of a mother stare back at me.

And they, alongside their precious little ones, are teaching me.

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A mother tends to her son in recovery in the ICU

I had this notion of what being at a CURE Hospital would be like. I hadn’t realized how limited and colored my perceptions of CURE’s procedures were until the brick and mortar, blood and sweat realities challenged them.

CURE has exceptional stories. Tales of witchcraft, seclusion, abandonment, and pain are miraculously transformed into stories of hope, healing, and possibility through the work faithfully being done at each and every CURE hospital. But the real heartbeat of CURE’s mission isn’t found in the exceptional stories alone.

To not slow down and see the beauty and the power that is so vastly present in the ordinary here would be entirely missing the point.

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Laundry drying in the breeze at CURE Uganda

It’s the mothers who tirelessly rock babies with heavy heads long after their arms have fallen asleep and their backs ache, the women who roll out of their own bed to tend to their neighbor’s child as it cries.

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A mother comforts her baby outside the patient ward

It’s the wiping of the bottoms, the washing of the sheets, the endless feedings and checkups, the strength of the heart behind the arms that hand their own flesh and blood off into the unknowns of surgery with the hope of something more, the promise of something better.

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A mother bathing her daughter at CURE Uganda

It’s the nurses who stay hours after their shift has ended just to be with the patients, the staff members who pause to pray for each and every baby before carrying them into the operating theater.

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Doctors and nursing of CURE Uganda

It’s the pursuit of daily excellence from each staff member, whether nurses or groundskeepers, cooks or neurosurgeons.

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Learning with Justine, a full-time cook at CURE Uganda

It’s a quiet, resounding strength.

Much like the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19, where the voice of God is heard after the fire and the earthquake as a gentle whisper, the beauty and the power of CURE is not found in the extraordinary alone.

It’s in seeing a group of imperfect people, with flawed hearts and limited knowledge, who make the daily decision of difficult obedience and tiresome service in the healing of bodies and souls, that I am able to look at CURE Uganda and see the unabashedly humble and overwhelmingly glorious face of Jesus.

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A mother and son preparing to embark on their journey home

“Let the little children come unto me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Where hope for healing rested

Maureen’s parents, like most parents, eagerly anticipated the birth of their baby girl and were overjoyed when she arrived. But two months after her birth, their joy was interrupted. Maureen started having fevers that would not go away, despite all their efforts. They became very concerned, especially when Maureen started having frequent seizures and endless crying.

Some community members expressed their opinion that the spirit of the family’s dead grandfather had attacked the child. They urged Sandra to seek the help of a village witch doctor who was believed to be very powerful. Sandra rejected this advice and told the locals she felt compelled to seek help from professionals at the hospital. Maureen was admitted to the hospital for three days, but to the surprise of her parents, her head suddenly became very large. The doctor referred them to CURE Uganda after diagnosing Maureen with hydrocephalus.

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He wipes away the tears and brings a smile

Elizabeth, firstborn to her parents Josephine and James, was born perfectly healthy in January 2014. A few days after her birth, however, she started to develop fevers. Her parents took her to a nearby health center where she was admitted and treated, but her condition did not improve. Within the next month, Elizabeth started to have seizures, her head became enlarged, and her eyes began to sunset. Josephine and James became increasingly worried as her health continued to deteriorate and more complications developed. They took Elizabeth to several clinics, but their efforts were fruitless.

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Finding truth in the midst of falsehoods about hydrocephalus

Aol_Judith_121205_001Judith’s birth was a joy to her parents, Jenifer and Bonny, who had longed for a baby girl to love. She was born perfectly healthy, but only four days after being discharged from the hospital she started showing signs that something was wrong. Her frequent fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and endless crying were distressing to Jenifer and Bonny, and they began to panic. Close neighbors and friends didn’t help to ease their stress; they suggested that Judith had epilepsy and should be taken to the witch doctor for treatment. Jenifer rejected the idea and took Judith to the nearby hospital instead. After spending two weeks in the first hospital, Judith was transferred to another hospital for better treatment. She stayed for two days before being referred to CURE Uganda for expert treatment. The family had no money to travel to CURE, so they went back home to raise the money needed to make the trip. Read the rest of this entry »

CURE In the News: Week of March 9th, 2014

CURE International

Hacking a solution for hydrocephalus…just not the one expected” by the Boston Children’s Hospital

CURE In the News: Week of February 16th, 2014

CURE Uganda

Hydrocephalus treatment study began in Uganda” from Research News at Vanderbilt University

Hydrocephalus research at CURE Uganda

Our CUREkids Coordinators are CURE’s eyes and ears on the ground in our hospitals. They not only file photos and updates on each CUREkid but also act as Correspondents, giving us a glimpse of life at the CURE hospital and in the country and culture in which the hospital serves. The following is part of the Correspondent series, filed by Edwin Ongom, our national CUREkids Coordinator in Uganda.

IMG_5673The CUREkids in Uganda are a blessed group of children. They have been blessed with favor and an opportunity for total healing. The very presence of numerous world-class specialists in neurosurgery at CURE Uganda, especially those who specialize in treating hydrocephalus, is a testament to this fact. Some of the world’s best experts in neurosurgery have dedicated themselves to finding a lasting solution for treating and preventing hydrocephalus.

One such expert is Steven J. Schiff, MD, PhD, Director of the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. The first time Professor Schiff came to CURE Uganda he met with Dr. Ben Warf, who pioneered the revolutionary ETV/CPC method of treating hydrocephalus. As the two spoke about the medical world and hydrocephalus, Dr. Warf lamented the condition of the children with hydrocephalus and hoped that one day a preventive measure would be found. This conversation inspired a long journey of research over the course of the past six years, according to Professor Schiff.

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An exciting week of esteemed visitors at CURE Uganda

Our CUREkids Coordinators are CURE’s eyes and ears on the ground in our hospitals. They not only file photos and updates on each CUREkid but also act as Correspondents, giving us a glimpse of life at the CURE hospital and in the country and culture in which the hospital serves. The following, filed by Edwin Ongom, our national CUREkids Coordinator in Uganda, is part of our Correspondent series. These are his reflections from a special day of service and celebration for the CURE Uganda team.

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Dr. Ben Warf, right, in a surgical room in Uganda.

Dr. Benjamin Warf, former Medical Director of CURE Uganda and current Director of the Neonatal and Congenial Anomaly Neurosurgery Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, recently came to visit with a team of surgeons from the United States. These surgeons came to CURE Uganda to learn new methods of treating hydrocephalus. Dr. Warf pioneered this new approach and the surgeons came to learn it with the intent of applying it back in the United States. They have performed multiple life-changing surgeries in the few days they have been here.

When our patients learned that the man who pioneered the ETV/CPC method was going to be at the hospital performing surgeries, emotions ran high. One mother who had brought her daughter told me that that her hope had been restored. When I told her that Dr. Warf is also a committed Christian she was even more excited.

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CURE In the News: Week of January 12th, 2014

CURE Zambia

Without CURE we would have lost this child” from The Telegraph