When James K. Stevens embarked on his career as an IT professional for Liberia Electricity Corporation, he did so because he liked to be outside, to explore new opportunities and to keep moving forward.
The only issue was that his labor of love required him to spend a lot of time on his feet. An accident in Nigeria during a training session resulted in a deep fracture on his right ankle. For close to 5 years James suffered from the pain of this fracture. By late 2017 the pain was affecting his walking, impacting his quality of life, and importantly, his professional life. Vaidam spoke to James about his recent travel to India and the treatment that now sees him back on his feet.
Please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is James Stevens and I am from Liberia. I am an IT professional for Liberia Electricity Corporation. I have arrived in India for a surgery for my right ankle.
How did you get this injury?
It began 5 years ago, while I was on a business trip to Nigeria. While getting off the flight, I accidentally missed a step and tripped. I got an X-ray done and there was a fracture on my right leg. At this time I didn’t think much about it, however, my leg progressively got worse.
So I got myself checked at Monrovia Memorial Hospital in Liberia. This is the biggest hospital in Liberia. After looking at my reports and analyzing the history of my injury, the doctor there recommended I get the treatment abroad.
How did you feel at this time?
I have now been living, struggling and sometimes laughing with and at my ankle fracture for the last 5 years. In the last two years, my ankle has worsened significantly. My knees were beginning to give way, my left calf muscle had become wasted and my feet were 'turning over'. I enjoy walking, but it increasingly becomes agony even to walk to the nearby supermarket.
What did you do subsequently?
My company - Liberia Electricity Corporation, told me that I should do whatever possible to ensure my leg gets better. I must give a special thanks to the management team at Liberia Electricity Corporation, without their support I don’t think I could have done this. With my options opened to me, I first decided to travel to Ghana. After numerous tests and consultations with a doctor, I eventually decided to travel to the US for further treatment.
During my medical trip to the US, I began searching for treatment options online I was in the US for about a month. I realized that I needed to try a different approach. Being an IT person myself, I started searching online, I Googled price quotations for treatment for Ankle Arthritis treatment. It was at this time I got in contact with Vaidam.
Why did you decide to travel to India?
I have always been very intrigued by India. The people, the food and the culture, it all seemed so different. This was my opportunity to finally travel to India and meet people and experience the culture.
Vaidam was like a switch. When I first spoke to my case manager Archana, it was like I was already in India. Everything came to pass so quickly. She asked me for my MRI reports and within minutes I heard back from her with 15 best orthopedic hospitals in India. After going through these options, I decided on Sharda Hospital because of its status as a world-class hospital in the foot and ankle area.
How is your treatment coming along?
When I arrived, I met Dr. Sudhir Kumar from the Department of Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Sharda. Dr. Kumar has expertise in foot and ankle surgery, including arthroscopic procedures. Dr. Kumar is one of those people who can walk into a room and brighten it up. On my first meeting he asked my name and when he heard ‘James’, he called me Bond. His excellent care ended up making a big improvement in my life.
Dr. Kumar, who is renowned and best foot and ankle surgeon in India, performed a surgery on my right ankle. The surgery took place on the 17th of July. I now have a new ankle. I am waiting for my soul to heal. I can move my toes and my mobility is gradually improving. I am going to the Hospital on Thursday 2nd August to get my dressing changed, so I am looking forward to that.
How did you find the Vaidam experience?
There are so many things that I would like to say about Vaidam. I was extremely impressed with your services that I want to return to Liberia and tell people about your service. There are so many people in Liberia who can use your help.
Also speaking to Archana was a breath of fresh air. She really encouraged me. She assured me that she would help me with my Visa and helped me fill in the form. Through it all, I had her constant support and assurance for which I would like to deeply thank her.
I would also like to thank my family especially my daughter Janice who constantly encouraged me; just before the surgery she called me and said, “daddy don’t worry everything will be alright”. I am a very lucky man, and now I can return to Liberia able to walk normally once again.