Surgeons at Kenyatta National Hospital have successfully reattached a 17-year-old boy’s hand severed by a chaff-cutter.
The seven-hour microvascular surgery on January 26 was the first sucessful hand reattachment in Sub-Saharan Africa, the hospital said.
Blood flow was restored in three hours for Joseph Theuri of Kihara, Kiambu county.
“Nasikia poa sana. Wamenishugulikia sana. (I feel so good. They, they have taken care of me well),” Theuri told the Star from his hospital ward.
“We are pleased to inform the country Mbugua is recuperating well and has regained mobility of his fingers. Our doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery,” KNH chief executive officer Lily Koros said.
Theuri was cleaning the cutter at home in Kihara, Kiambu, at 11am on January 26 when the power accidentally surged on. The blades cut off his right hand at the wrist.
“I did not immediately realise my hand was not there when I saw my wrist bleeding. The hand had fallen on the ground. I collected it andshouted for help,” Theuri told the Star yesterday from his hospital bed.
The hand was wrapped in a polythene bag and he was rushed to Kiambu County Hospital. Medics sterilised and disinfected the hand and stored it in a cool box. They stopped the bleeding and gave medication to prevent infection.
Theuri was rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital. CEO Koros yesterday said he was admitted at 1pm, in severe pain.
The hospital immediately began assembling a microvascular team, including Kenya’s top plastic surgeons and theatre nurses. Surgery to reattach the hand began at 10pm on January 26. It ended at 6am on January 27.
“One team prepared the hand, the other worked on the stump. Time was of the essence,” Dr Wanjala Nang’ole said. He led the team together with Prof Stanley Khainga. Both teach at the University of Nairobi Medical School.
The delicate procedure involved identification of blood vessels, nerves and tendons, aligning and fixing the bones, repairing and joining the arteries, nerves and tendons.
Nang’ole said the operation was highly successful and blood flow was restored in only three hours.
The youth will be discharged in about 10 days and will have physiotherapy until the hand is completely healed and flexible. Tendons take about two months to heal completely. Nerves take four to five months.
The Standard Eight dropout said he was optimistic about his future.