Patient Story: Rohan was treated at the Helios Hospital Siegburg in cooperation with Peace Village
© Helios

Patient Story: Rohan was treated at the Helios Hospital Siegburg in cooperation with Peace Village

When Rohan (name changed) from an Afghan province near Kabul suffered a thigh injury in the spring, the 11-year-old certainly wouldn't have thought that a few weeks later this would take him almost 5,000 kilometers away, all the way to Germany.

"In February, we received a call from Friedensdorf in Oberhausen, with whom we have been cooperating for many years," recalls Dr. Dennis Vogel, chief physician for special orthopedic surgery, endoprosthetics and foot surgery at Helios Hospital Siegburg. "We were told that they were caring for an 11-year-old boy who urgently needed highly skilled medical care for a bone infection in a broken femur with an open wound," Dr. Vogel said. The hospital's surgeons didn't hesitate for a second and agreed to take the young patient.

Rohan arrived at the Helios hospital in Siegburg in late March 2022 and was immediately admitted to the Department of Orthopedics, Trauma and Spine Surgery. Further examinations revealed a clear picture: Rohan was suffering from a femur fracture, a shaft fracture of the femur. During the course, inflammation of the bone tissue in the affected area had also developed. The bone had almost disintegrated in the fractured area due to infection with bacteria, and two open areas had formed on the skin. As a result, Rohan had been placed in a cast from the pelvis to the lower leg for several weeks, leaving him completely bedridden. For the young patient, this was a heavy emotional burden in great pain.

"Since this injury or infection would have possibly ended in an amputation of the leg in Afghanistan, the patient was referred to us in Germany via the Peace Village," says Dr. Vogel. The day after the patient was admitted to the clinic, the specialists removed the cast and performed the initial surgery. The dead inflamed bone tissue was removed and an external fixator was applied. In the further course, inflamed bone had to be removed again so that the infection was completely eliminated. A placeholder, which releases an antibiotic locally, was inserted to bridge the large bone defect. Then, at the final visit in late June, the removed portion of the bone was rebuilt using tissue taken from the boy's iliac crest, as well as an additional bone donation. The external fixator, an external splint that securely stabilizes the leg, remains in place.

The prognosis for Rohan is good. "If the newly inserted bone tissue integrates with the remaining bone, the external fixator can be removed as the procedure progresses," Dr. Vogel explains. For Rohan, this means not only that he will then be able to walk again without pain, but also that he will finally be able to travel back home - to his family in Afghanistan.

Rohan is one of several young patients who have been treated at the Helios Hospital Siegburg in cooperation with the Peace Village. Just last year, Karimullah, then 12 years old, was also successfully treated for severe osteomyelitis of the lower leg, an infection of the bone and bone marrow caused by bacteria.

About the Peace Village

Friedensdorf International brings sick children who cannot be helped medically in their war-torn and crisis-ridden home countries to Germany in order to have them treated in clinics here. After medical treatment has been completed and subsequent rehabilitation measures in the International Peace Village in Oberhausen, all children return home and to their families.

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