Fitzwilliam consultant performs life-changing surgeries to children living in India with scoliosis

Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, Mr Girish Swamy, based at Fitzwilliam Hospital has recently returned from a trip to India, where he and his esteemed team performed corrective surgery on children with complex scoliosis for the second consecutive year.

Invited by Operation Straight Spine Trust (OSST), a charitable organisation dedicated to providing surgical and medical care for underprivileged children with the musculoskeletal disease scoliosis in India, Mr Swamy and his Norwich team journeyed to Kolkata to make a difference.

Scoliosis, characterised by twisting and curvature of the spine, poses significant physical and emotional challenges for affected children. It can cause severe pain and disability, recurrent chest infections and heart problems. Having a visibly curved spine can lead to emotional problems including body image, self-esteem and overall quality of life. Recognising the profound impact of this condition, Mr Swamy and his team spent a week working tirelessly to alleviate pain, disability, and emotional distress in their patients.

Flying in on Sunday 17th March 2024, the spinal team met their patients and families that evening. They brought regenerated supplies and operated from Monday to Friday at the Jagannath Gupta Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital (JIMSH).

The team performed complex surgeries, which can each take more than 8 hours, on 9 children from North India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. From inserting special rods in young children to performing spinal fusion for teenagers, each surgery aimed to correct and straighten the curved spine, offering hope and healing. They were observed by other surgeons, junior doctors, teaching nurses, and healthcare professionals from other faculties.

Beyond surgical interventions, on Saturday, Mr Swamy and his colleagues contributed to the Fourth Kolkata Spine Deformity Conference, sharing invaluable insights and knowledge gained from their experiences. Their participation underscored the importance of collaboration and global awareness in tackling musculoskeletal diseases.


Mr Girish Swamy said:

 “Scoliosis can be treated with highly specialised surgery. A better understanding of scoliosis and a greater awareness that it can be treated is needed in rural Indian villages. By raising awareness and providing access to specialised care, lives can be transformed and disabilities prevented. What’s more, surgery would be less challenging if patients sought treatment sooner before their condition progressed.”

“It is with great gratitude that OSST can fund these surgeries. They play a critical role in providing access to complex and expensive orthopaedic treatment for Indian children. Without charity funding, these underprivileged children would not benefit from surgery, without which their lives would become a struggle and they could become severely disabled.”

 “All the operations were a success and we have been invited back again next year for a slightly longer period of 8 to 10 days to help accommodate more patients. My colleagues and I are excited by this and the opportunity to help again.”

Mr Swamy's unwavering dedication to combating childhood scoliosis and collaborative efforts in healthcare exemplifies the impact on patients and their communities. His commitment to improving lives is an inspiration to us all.

Mr Girish Swamy Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Fitzwilliam Hospital