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Success! Rathana from Cambodia raised $1,500 to fund spinal surgery.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Rathana's treatment was fully funded on November 19, 2020.

Photo of Rathana post-operation

March 26, 2020

Rathana underwent spinal surgery.

Rathana had a successful operation and he is now recovering in the hospital’s ward where he will work with the physiotherapist daily to improve his movement.

Rathana’s surgery has significantly improved his quality of life by correcting his spine position and allowing Rathana to sit in class for long periods of time without causing discomfort. Spinal surgery is crucial to ensuring that Rathana does not experience any further worsening of the curvature in his spine. Rathana is excited to return to school and playing with his friends again. His mother is happy that her son’s surgery went well and that she can return to the village and her son can return to school.

He shared, “I am so happy that I can go back to school and that I am walking again and can sleep well.”

Rathana had a successful operation and he is now recovering in the hospital's ward where he will work with the physiotherapist daily to impr...

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March 2, 2020

Rathana is a fourteen-year-old boy who enjoys studying math, and hopes to work in international technology when he grows up. He has one younger sister, and his favorite activities include reading books, exercising with his mother, spending time with his friends, and watching movies.

Rathana was born with congenital scoliosis, and is unable to walk for long periods of time, has difficulty breathing, and cannot sleep well.

For the past two months, Rathana has been in a halo gravity traction to assist in lengthening his spine prior to his surgery. Surgery will place a growing rod in his spine to straighten out Rathana’s spine and achieve maximum correction of his spinal curvature.

He will be able to walk, sleep, and breathe easily again. He looks forward to returning to his studies and reuniting with his friends.

His mother shared, “I hope that my son’s operation will go well and he will be able to do things independently again, and I will no longer have to worry about him and can return to my work.”

Rathana is a fourteen-year-old boy who enjoys studying math, and hopes to work in international technology when he grows up. He has one youn...

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Rathana's Timeline

  • March 2, 2020

    Rathana was submitted by Lindsay Bownik, Stakeholder Relations Officer at Children's Surgical Centre, our medical partner in Cambodia.

  • March 3, 2020

    Rathana received treatment at Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • March 3, 2020

    Rathana's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 26, 2020

    Rathana's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • November 19, 2020

    Rathana's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 37 donors

Funded by 37 donors

Spinal Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,589 for Rathana's treatment
Subsidies fund $89 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Patients experiencing severe back pain may also experience fever and chills, unexplained weight loss, sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence, and severe, continuous abdominal pain. Back pain may be caused by vertebrae, the small bones of the spine. The back conditions for which surgery is recommended include degenerative disk disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, fracture, infection, and tumor.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Patients with severe back pain experience difficulty walking, sleeping, sitting, riding a motorcycle, working, going to school, and carrying out everyday tasks. If the pain affects a patient's ability to work or go to school, the patient will be unable to earn money to support his or her family or continue his or her education. Patients may experience discomfort and difficulty breathing.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Cambodian culture emphasizes the importance of working hard and earning money to support the family. When a patient is unable to work, he or she may feel helpless or may experience financial difficulty.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

There are several types of spinal surgeries performed to treat back pain: Spinal fusion: This is the most common surgery for back pain and is used to keep the spine stable after injury, infection, or a tumor. The surgeon joins the spinal bones (vertebrae) together. In a spinal fusion for scoliosis, the surgeon attaches rods, hooks, wires, or screws to the curved part of the backbone to straighten and stabilize the spine. Laminectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back. This relieves pressure on spinal nerves and can ease pain or weakness. Foraminotomy: The surgeon cuts bone at the sides of the vertebrae to widen the space through which nerves exit the spine, relieving pressure on the nerves and easing pain. Diskectomy: A disk, the cushion that separates the vertebrae, can slip out of place, pressing on a spinal nerve and causing back pain. In a diskectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the disk to relieve pain. Disk replacement: A surgeon removes the damaged spinal disk and inserts an artificial one between the vertebrae. Interlaminar implant: The surgeon implants a U-shaped device between two vertebrae in the lower back. This device helps keep the space between them open and eases pressure on the spinal nerves. Bone grafting will also be performed to support the spine and stimulate bone healing.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

The patient will be able to work or go to school without pain.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

As with any operation, there are potential risks associated with spinal surgery. These include: Infection: Antibiotics are regularly given to the patient before, during, and after surgery to lessen the risk of infection. Bleeding: A certain amount of bleeding is expected, but this is not typically significant. Pain at bone graft site: A small percentage of patients will experience persistent pain at the bone graft site. Recurring symptoms: Some patients may experience a recurrence of their original symptoms. Nerve damage: It is possible that the nerves or blood vessels may be injured during these operations. These complications are very rare. Blood clots: Another uncommon complication is the formation of blood clots in the legs.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Spinal surgery is not widely offered in Cambodia, especially for low-income patients who cannot afford treatment. Children's Surgical Centre (CSC) provides this procedure free of charge. Patients travel to CSC by bus, taxi, or motorbike from all over Cambodia.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Patients that do not seek a surgical procedure may try exercises and medication. However, these forms of treatment may not be effective.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Charity is a 28-year-old woman from Kenya. She is the eldest in her family and is now married and has a newborn baby who is two months old. Her husband works as a clerk at a local dairy factory, where he earns enough to feed their family. Charity was working at the same factory, but was laid off from her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is not currently working and spends her time at home taking care of her child. Since August 2020, when Charity was pregnant, she started experiencing pain in her upper abdomen that radiated to the back. Charity had visited several different health centers but showed no improvement, and later decided to come to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Nazareth Hospital. She underwent a scan, which showed that she has a large gallstone. The doctor recommended that she undergo a cholecystectomy. Without treatment, Charity's condition may become more complicated and cause her gall bladder inflammation, or a blocked bile duct or pancreatic duct. However, Charity is unable to meet the cost of her care and appeals for financial support. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. is helping Charity receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on March 9th at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove the gallbladder due to the gallstone causing pain and possibly infection. This procedure will cost $788, and she and her family need help raising money. Charity shared, "The pain is too much at times and I feel some relief when I vomit. I am hoping to get support so that I can be well and be at peace to nurse my baby."

55% funded

$353to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.