Case Spotlight

The Addis Clinic connects physicians to frontline health workers, allowing for specialty care in the most remote and underserved areas.

Summer time in Ethiopia is not much different than in the U.S. Children are more active and injuries are more frequent. Even common wounds can result in complications when not treated properly. For people with limited access to health care, the delay of this care can result in further pain and infection.

This was the case this month when a 15-year-old boy was suffering from swelling and pain in his left knee and leg. He reported that a month earlier he fell and suffered skin abrasion. The family was not able to afford to bring him to the local medical center.

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The local health worker submitted a consultation, including pictures, and the case was assigned to a volunteer physician in our network. It was determined that the young man was most likely suffering from Pre-patellar bursitis with localized cellulitis extending to the ankle, including multiple chronic infected abrasions and ulcers, secondary to a previous fall injury and localized infection around the knee.

Translated in non-medical terms: the boy’s leg, especially the knee, was inflamed and infected all the way to the ankle due to improper care of the injuries he sustained from a previous fall.

Pre-patellar bursitis is commonly known as “Housemaids Knee.” Historically, it was a typical injury for people who would spend long periods kneeling on the floor. It can also happen due to a fall or direct blow onto the knee.

After proper diagnosis, the recommended treatment plan consisted of antibiotics to treat the infection, ibuprofen for pain relief, an update for tetanus prophylaxis, and specific instructions for daily cleansing of the wounds.

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After two weeks of this care, the boy’s wounds were healed, the swelling disappeared, and he could bend his knee 90 degrees. Thanks to the collaboration between the local health worker and our volunteer physician, it is expected that the boy won’t experience any further complications and can return to his daily routine!