Joseph Theuri, 17, whose arm was chopped off by chaff cutter after a successful operation to replant severed limb at Kenyatta National Hospital. PHOTO | NATIONJoseph Theuri, 17, whose arm was chopped off by chaff cutter after a successful operation to replant severed limb at Kenyatta National Hospital. PHOTO | NATION
By ELIZABETH MERAB

A team of 15 surgeons, anesthetists and nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital have successfully reattached the hand of a 17-year-old boy which was severed by a chaff cutter.

The young man, Joseph Theuri, accidentally chopped off his arm last month while cleaning the machine used for cutting straw for farm animals into smaller pieces.

“I only realised my hand was missing when I saw a pool of blood in the cloth I was using to clean the machine,” he recalls, adding that the machine accidentally switched on as he was cleaning it.

The procedure to replant the detached hand took doctors seven hours since receiving the patient who was referred from Kiambu County on January 26.

SUCCESSFUL OPERATION

“We started the procedure immediately, working from 10pm to 6am the following day to attach the nerves, tendon and blood vessels. We also needed to align the bones,” said one of the lead surgeons, Dr Nang’ole Wanjala.

To save time and ensure that the workflow was seamless, Dr Nang’ole went on to say, the team of 15 split into two, whereby one team worked on preparing the detached hand and the other team working on the stump of the forearm.

Dr Nang’ole was in the company of University of Nairobi’s prof Stanley Khainga overseeing the whole procedure.

“We received the patient that evening and what amazed us was that his hand had been preserved in cooler box. This helped keep the cells of the hand alive,” added Dr Nang’ole.

The doctors are optimistic that young Theuri will regain the full usage of his hand following the successful operation.

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