Down to the Bare Bones at MCH


A grinning mid-sized boy lay on the table in MCH’s ortho room (grinning, of all things!). An ortho technician raised his electric buzz-saw. Still the boy smiled. I leaned over to his silent mother. “How long has he been in this body cast?”

His mother answered, “3 months. A long 3 months.” No wonder the boy was now smiling.

“So, you want to play soccer again?” I asked, and he shouted, “Yes!” He had to shout. The buzz-saw had begun cutting off his cast.

RicketsOrthopedic surgery is one of the busiest sections of MCH’s surgical department. The team uses both operative and non-operative means to treat trauma, degenerative diseases, infections, and tumors.

Throughout the week, our technicians set and cast broken limbs—hips, elbows, tibia, femurs, and much more. They tell me that caring for 20-30 broken limbs is all in a day’s work.

Working with surgeon Dr. Kelley, MCH’s technicians hospitalize and care for patients using elevation and traction, as well as operative techniques including internal and external fixation and bone grafting. Over the past 16 years MCH has become renowned throughout southern Bangladesh for its minimally-invasive methods of surgically treating fractures. Using C-arm fluoroscopy, Dr. Kelley is able to realign fractured arms and legs by threading special rods in the intra-medullary (marrow) space of the bones.

Our physical therapists frequently partner with the ortho team by offering continuous passive motion therapy.
Unfortunately, when people with fractures are not immediately brought to MCH, and they arrive after several agonizing days of no treatment or wrong treatment, our medical team confronts the crippling conditions of unhealed, infected, or mal-aligned fractures. If the broken limb has been massaged by a village “doctor”, it is likely that surgery will be needed to correct the worsened condition.

CRIF of radius/ulnaOn Sundays and Thursdays, after patients visit MCH’s X-ray rooms, our orthopedic technicians see 30 or more fracture patients. Then on Tuesdays, club foot babies, an average of 7-8 of them, arrive in the arms of loving family members. Interestingly, the Latin words from which we get “orthopedics” mean “to straighten or correct children”. And so our orthopedic team partners with MCH’s limb-and-brace department to fit children with handcrafted braces and shoes. They also correct other musculoskeletal deformities such as rickets or curvature of the spine in children.