The biggest problem is when we feel it cannot be done, it blocks the mind from getting creative ideas.  Just say that we can do it, then we can sit down and figure out how we can do it.  It is not impossible! 

Meet Dr. Isaac King’ori, 5th year orthopedic resident at Kijabe/CURE hospitals.

In this podcast, we talk about the origin of Isaac’s heart for medicine, learning to be a leader, how to derive joy from a single patient and solving challenges in Kijabe Hospital and Kenya at large.

Dr. Francis Mbugua, long-time CURE orthopedic surgeon who will soon join the Kijabe Hospital team joins in the conversation as well.

You can listen to the podcast online at or find the episode in Apple Podcasts by searching Friends of Kijabe.  If you’re short on time, the 20-30 minute point is my favorite segment.

Isaac: When I see a patient coming, I can identify with them.  In 2012 I was an orthopedic patient here.  I had an injury, was treated in a different facility, and here I got the optimal treatment.  I am what I am today because of the treatment I got at Kijabe.

David: You cannot go five minutes in Kenya and not see someone walking with a cane or walking with a limp.

What I’ve read is that somewhere around 1% of a population in a country are in need of orthopedic surgery.  In a country with 46 million people, there is such a huge need.  I dream of getting you more space to operate, but in reality it would take 100 times the space to meet the need.

How do you deal with this?  You know that you are going to work as hard as you can, as efficient as you can, but at the end of the day there will still be a six-month list of patients.  How do you keep working your hardest with that knowledge?

Isaac: If you look at the numbers, you can get discouraged.  There is a term floating around when guys get discouraged, that you can never finish the patients.  Kijabe has been here for 100 years, fixing fractures, and they are not finished.

What makes a difference is when you focus on that patient you are operating on, when you fix them well.   If you derive joy from that single patient, fixing them well, like this patient that came with a very bad fracture and two days later he is walking, he doesn’t have much pain – for a fracture that potentially would have been disabling – he’ll be able to go back to work in six weeks or three months.  Deriving joy from this one patient is what makes you go on each and every day.  

Francis: For a long time now, patients with musculoskeletal trauma have been in the leading three causes of death/morbidity in Kenya (along with HIV and Malaria).  If you look at the numbers the burden is huge.

Today if I do what I can today, however small, if I am as efficient I can be, I’ll have done my best.  But I love training.  The way I see that we will handle this is if build capacity, through training, we can address the need.

The reason Kijabe Hospitals has such a burden is there are so few centers that can take care of these patients in a satisfactory manner.  If we, in the process of working here, train guys who are going to fill that gap, in the next years we can make a difference.

David: If Jesus was on earth today and I could as him a question, it would be, “How did you choose the people you were going to heal?  How did you you choose the people who would be your disciples?”

Jesus healed so few, yet out of that, they go out and completely change the world.

I love being here, being around you guys doing that same work.  You are doing the work and teaching other people to do it to do it, both medically and spiritually.  Isaac in five years will work with all these other surgeons and in five years with all the other ones. . .

Francis: Exponential effect, and the hope is that wherever they go, they plant the seed.

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