DANVILLE — Hyenas ripped off Sisay’s nose, upper lip and several teeth. Now, with the help of Geisinger Medical Center doctors, the 7-year-old Ethiopian boy has a chance at a normal life again.
When Shimeles heard his son’s cries during the attack last February, he drove the hyenas away, but said his son was so covered in blood that he thought Sisay was dead.
After discovering Sisay was alive, Shimeles carried his son 45 minutes to a town, where they found a ride to Gelemso, a four hours away.
Dr. Adam Waksor, a Geisinger maxillofacial surgeon from Ethiopia, met Sisay at St. Yared General Hospital while on a medical mission to his home country.
“The first time I saw him, it was a traumatic experience,” Waksor said Thursday at a Geisinger press conference introducing Sisay. “Once I saw him, I knew it was definitely impossible to treat him in Ethiopia.”
With the help of colleagues at Geisinger, Waksor arranged to have Sisay and his father brought to the U.S. on Jan. 24.
Courtesy of Geisinger, Sisay will be given a prosthetic nose and facial reconstruction surgery to fix his lip.
“This is a miracle. It’s winning the lottery to come here,” Shimeles said in Ethiopia’s Amharic language. Waksor served as his translator.
Shimeles expressed gratitude several times during the press conference.
“He can’t even express how thankful he is,” Waksor said.
Shimeles is a farmer and the sole breadwinner for his family, which includes his wife and six children.
Shimeles had to sell some of his livestock and borrow money from friends to pay for his son’s care while in Ethiopia.
Father and son are staying at the Ronald McDonald House on Geisinger Medical Center’s campus.
In Ethiopia, Sisay and his father went to several clinics and hospitals, but the most any of them could do was give Sisay antibiotics and pain medication.
Sisay had been receiving this treatment for three months at St. Yared’s before Waksor met him.