'Back to the future' medicine man turns frustration into big opportunity

Story highlights

  • Kenyan-born Said Osman is a world-renowned spinal surgeon
  • Osman is the pioneer behind endoscopic spine surgery
  • Osman has patents for growing artificial bones and joints
  • His career goal is to produce an artificial skeleton

African Voices is a weekly show that highlights Africa's most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who rarely open themselves up to the camera. Follow the team on Twitter.

London (CNN)Said Osman found his life's calling after witnessing a tragic scene as a young boy that still haunts him decades later.

The pioneering Kenyan doctor was just nine years old when a girl was rushed across the border from southern Ethiopia to northern Kenya. A few years his senior, she was severely dehydrated and barely holding on.
"Everyone was trying to resuscitate her and my uncle, a local pharmacy technician, saw the horrified look on my face. I was just a terrified kid, so he took me home."
    But Osman couldn't get the girl off his mind. He persuaded his uncle to let him return to the hospital a few weeks later to see the girl.
    He was amazed to find she had nearly made a full r