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Success! Sovan from Cambodia raised $392 for surgery to restore his hand function.

  • $392 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Sovan's treatment was fully funded on June 1, 2016.

Photo of Sovan post-operation

August 3, 2016

Sovan received a successful tendon reparation surgery.

Sovan’s tendon and nerve repair surgery went very well. During the procedure, surgeons performed a tendon and nerve graft on his left forearm to repair his damaged ones and begin the recovery process. He will have two weeks of physiotherapy and then a follow-up appointment in a month to check his healing. Although it will take months for his arm to regain full mobility, his hand function has already improved and doctors are very hopeful he will make a full recovery.

He is very excited to return home and begin to support his family again, something he’d been unable to do with such a painful and debilitating injury. Both he and his wife, who accompanied him to the clinic, are very thankful to all those who helped Sovan have this restorative surgery.

Sovan’s tendon and nerve repair surgery went very well. During the procedure, surgeons performed a tendon and nerve graft on his left forear...

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May 12, 2016

Sovan’s hands and arms were cut by a sheet of zinc last year. Although he was treated at a local clinic at the time of the accident, his right hand is still in pain and he is unable to hold anything.

Sovan is a 48-year-old farmer from Cambodia. He has a family of eight children, and enjoys watching boxing on TV and listening to traditional Khmer music.

Unable to find proper treatment in the area where he lives, Sovan traveled three hours with his wife to reach Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC). There, doctors identified a tendon and nerve injury in his right hand, as well as a loss of sensation of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers of his left hand. They recommended Sovan have surgery to repair these damaged nerves and tendons.

For $392, surgeons will perform a tendon and nerve graft on Sovan’s left forearm. This will restore his mobility and sensation after recovery, and Sovan will be able to return home with full use of his hand. Then, he can continue to work and support his family.

Sovan's hands and arms were cut by a sheet of zinc last year. Although he was treated at a local clinic at the time of the accident, his rig...

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Sovan's Timeline

  • May 12, 2016

    Sovan was submitted by Hannah Callas, Stakeholder Relations Officer at Children's Surgical Centre.

  • May 12, 2016

    Sovan received treatment at Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre in Cambodia. 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.

  • June 1, 2016

    Sovan's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 1, 2016

    Sovan's treatment was fully funded.

  • August 3, 2016

    Sovan's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 7 donors

Funded by 7 donors

Nerve and Tendon Repair
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

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

A number of nerve and tendon procedures are performed at Children's Surgical Centre. These are typically performed because a nerve is no longer fully functional. Reasons for this limited functionality can include lacerations, blunt trauma, burns, and tumors. Sometimes, spinal nerves are compressed due to herniated discs, bone spurs, and tumors.

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

The patient cannot work or drive a motorbike, the most common form of transportation in Cambodia.

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

Traffic accidents, common in Cambodia, are the most typical cause of a brachial plexus injury (BPI), or damage to a network of nerves on the neck and shoulders. The inability to use a limb is debilitating for patients, whose livelihoods involve physical activity. They are often farmers, factory workers, or drivers.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

When a nerve no longer functions, the muscle that it innervates no longer functions. Surgeons either repair that nerve or use a nerve from somewhere else in the body to act as a graft. In some cases, a nerve can be redirected from a less important muscle and grafted into a more critical nerve. During a BPI surgery, surgeons divert a nerve from one destination and sew it into the non-functioning nerve. It can take three to six months before a patient fully recovers from this operation.

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

The patient will regain function in his or her arm. The patient can drive a motorbike and go back to work.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This surgery is highly effective. The nerve is already damaged, so there is no risk of causing more harm. The surgery can only improve function.

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

This surgery is not available to most Cambodians. Patients travel up to twelve hours to visit Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). They learn about CSC from the radio, a neighbor, or a family member.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no alternative treatments to regain limb functionality.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Patience is a primary school teacher from Uganda. Her husband also works as a teacher, and they have four children. Their oldest child is sixteen and in secondary class four, while their youngest is four and in the baby junior class at school. Patience shared that their combined income covers their children’s school fees but is limited in providing for their family’s needs. In addition to teaching, during her time off from the school year, Patience prepares and sells local sorghum porridge. Two years ago, Patience began to experience troubling symptoms, including swelling on her neck. While the swelling was initially painless, she started feeling neck pains as time went on. Currently, she experiences airway obstruction when she sleeps or raises her arms, and she can no longer carry heavy loads. Fortunately, Patience had a friend undergo thyroidectomy surgery at our medical partner’s care center, and they referred her for treatment. Patience’s condition was diagnosed as a non-toxic multinodular goiter. She needs to undergo surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Patience receive treatment. On January 3rd, she will undergo a thyroidectomy, during which surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. AMH is requesting $333 to fund this surgery. Patience shared: “I hope to get well and look normal again through surgery. I will resume teaching as soon as possible after complete recovery.”

0% funded

$333to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.