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KNH discharges boy detained over Sh452K bill after first of a kind surgery – PHOTOS

Joseph Theuri, who underwent a seven-hour surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to reattach his hand which was severed by a chaff cutter, has been discharged.

Theuri, 17, was given the green light to leave the hospital last week Monday as the hand had regained much functionality, but was held back over the accrued Sh452,000 bill.

Among the monies he was required to pay is occupational therapy fee, physiotherapy fee and costs of two plastic surgery operations.

ALL SMILES

But on Tuesday, it was all smiles for the teenager as he was reunited with his mother Virginia Gathoni, sister Lilian Kamau and Ms Josephine Wanjiru, the good Samaritan who drove him to hospital while carrying his severed hand in a plastic bag.

The circumstances leading to the payment of the bill remains unclear.

PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU
PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

In an operation that marked a first for hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa, a team of surgeons led by Prof Stanley Khainga, Dr Nang’ole Wanjala and Dr Benjamin Wabwire successfully reattached the hand on February 8.

Theuri had been referred to KNH from Kiambu hospital where he had been admitted after he accidentally chopped off his arm while cleaning the machine used for cutting straw or hay.

“It has been a long journey since I was first brought to the hospital and it feels good to finally be allowed to go home to my family. I have missed them,” a beaming Theuri said.

He expressed his gratitude to those who had helped him, saying the experience had brought him closer to God.

“I would like to thank the entire team of doctors and nurses and everyone else who was involved in efforts to ensure I recover fully. Most of all, I thank God for the blessing of a second chance,” he said.

Ms Gathoni expressed her gratitude, saying her prayers had been answered.

PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU
PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

‘NORMAL LIFE AGAIN’

“What God can do, no man can do. I thank Him for everything and the team of doctors that worked tirelessly to save my son and ensure he gets to live a normal life again,” she said.

His sister, who has been taking care of him since he was admitted to KNH, said the experience had been terrifying. “I am so glad that the events of that night are now finally behind us and my brother can come home,” she said.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Wabwire said the patient’s chances of recovery were between 70 and 75 per cent.

“We want it to go back to as near normal as possible but the process is slow since the nerves have to regrow. Nerve tissue regenerates at the rate of approximately one millimetre a day and, considering that the hand is approximately 15cm long, we can only estimate that it will take a minimum of three months for him to feel any sensation in his hand,” said the surgeon.

PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU
PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

CAREFUL OBSERVATION

Occupational therapist Paul Kirui said the recovery process would involve careful observation of the patient coupled with exercise and medication.

“Theuri will feel a great deal of pain over the next six months or so as we work to restore full function to his hand. It will include checking sensation through being pricked with many pins and needles as the nerve tissues regrow,” he said.

“We expect the patient to experience some discomfort as the wounds heal, but it can be managed through medication,” said Mr Kirui.

Theuri has to report to the occupational therapist regularly. Dr Wabwire said the earliest the teenager could expect to use his hand was in six months, but indicated the process was subject to how the hand would be managed, among other factors.