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I’m well – after bullet in head 20 years ago

A city professor has lived for 20 years with the effects of a bullet in his brain.

Professor Joseph Nyasani was hit in the head during a robbery in Westlands.

And although the bullet went through his brain the hole it made was filled with surgical balloons during a specialist operation that took place in Germany.

The balloons were used to block veins and stop heavy bleeding during the operation, in 1994.

Prof Nyasani, who teaches philosophy at the University of Nairobi, spoke out after hearing about 18-month-old Satrine Osinya who was hit in the head by the same bullet that killed his mother during the attack at the Joy in Jesus Church in Likoni, Mombasa.

Complex operation

The bullet was removed only last week during a complex operation at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Prof Nyasani revealed:  “I was heading home to Westlands just after reading the 1pm news at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in University Way,” Prof Nyasani said.

“When I was almost at home, some three people approached me and asked me to surrender all that I had. One of them drew a gun and forced me out of my car and took over.”

He went on: “All along, I thought the gun that I had seen was a toy pistol. After a short argument, the holder of the gun pointed the gun straight at my head and shot me.” 

The thugs took the professor’s belongings, leaving him on the ground and bleeding profusely. He fell unconscious and was taken to Nairobi Hospital by a Good Samaritan.

“I remained in a coma for about three weeks and when I finally woke, the doctors said that a bullet had hit my right eye and come out through the back,” said the father of the radio personality, Nyatichi Nyasani.

The doctor told me that I would be okay with time, but I chose to seek a second opinion from doctors in Europe and so I flew to Germany.

“I stayed in Germany for three weeks and doctors had to undergo an anticoagulation therapy first before they could operate on me” he said.

Although Prof Nyasani did not develop any complication after the operation, his eye has never fully recovered. The doctors tried to make it look like the other although it is now slightly smaller. 

“My right eye is the one that cannot see, but I can wink and blink normally. It does not pain,” Prof Nyasani said.

He continued: “The doctors in Germany who were treating me used what they called balloon therapy to stop the bleeding. Those balloons were left inside my head.”

The professor, in spite of his brain injury has continued working at the university and has several papers to his name. In 2002, he was identified and requested by the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) to submit a comprehensive paper on the “Ethical and Ideological Basis for writing a Constitution”.

Throughout 2001 and most of 2002, he officiated at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s talk programme and interviewed the commissioners on their vision of the Constitution.

The professor is also a media trainer with the Media Skills Development Centre. The organisation trains journalists in different aspects of media practice. 

The professor said after the surgery in Germany, he has never felt any pain in his head and that he does not fall ill more than anyone else.