Title: 12-year-old crippled by disease looking forward to brighter future thanks to ‘magician’ doctor
By: Hayden Smith Dated: 15-5-2013
She faced a life of pain, crippled by a disfiguring disease that meant she would never walk.
But Gloria Abeka is now looking forward to a brighter future – thanks to the British surgeon her mother now calls ‘the magician’.
After flying from her home in Ghana to have pioneering surgery, Gloria can stand up straight and will soon be walking unaided.
The 12-year-old suffered from bone condition Blount’s Disease, which left her legs so badly bowed she could not even sit in comfort.
Orthopaedic consultant Vel Sakthivel broke each leg in three places and inserted three metal plates and 11 screws to lengthen her shin bones. ‘I am so, so happy,’ Gloria said.
‘I have spent my whole life with very bowed legs and have never been able to join in games with my friends, feel normal or be without pain.
‘My mother calls my surgeon Mr Sakthivel “the magician” because she says he worked a true miracle on me.’
Gloria saw her life change after meeting Basingstoke-based consultant Keith Thomson, who visited Accra with medical charity Mercy Ships.
Her plight inspired him to launch an email search for a surgeon who could help. Mr Sakthivel, of Southampton Children’s Hospital, offered to perform the operation to correct the progressive condition, which tends to afflict children of African ancestry.
‘I have seen children with this condition to a much smaller degree but the severity really was the worst I have seen so far,’ the knee specialist said.
‘This sort of extensive surgery is very rarely required in the western world and, to my knowledge, has not been reported in the UK before.’ Gloria will have spent more than eight months recovering by the time she returns home, after having her left leg fixed in March and her right one three months earlier.
But two months on the young patient, who has been staying with family and friends in Slough, Berkshire, can already sit and stand with straight legs.
‘I cannot thank Mr Sakthivel and Dr Thomson enough,’ she said
Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: It’s good to have some good news praise the Lord!!! The miracle of beautiful Gloria Abeka being able to, “sit and stand with straight legs” after years of suffering from, “a life of pain, crippled by a disfiguring disease that meant she would never walk” –is wonderful news. Ghana Rising Blog would like to thank medical heroes -surgeon Mr Sakthivel and consultant Keith Thomson for giving the lovely and brave Gloria Abeka –a future, we thank God for their lives.