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Wajir woman fighting for her life after brutal knife attack

By EUNICE KILONZO

Doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital were on Thursday evening racing to save the life of a woman who was critically injured in a domestic row in Wajir on Wednesday evening.

Ms Fatuma Ibrahim, 32, suffered stab wounds on her thigh, abdomen and arms, but the horror of the attack was a knife through her skull that doctors at Wajir Referral Hospital could not remove, and which prompted the transfer to KNH.

Dr Mohammed Hussein, speaking to the Nation at the Wajir Airstrip last evening, said Ms Ibrahim was taken to the Wajir hospital at 2am on Thursday with a knife sticking from the left side of her face. She arrived at the hospital nine hours after she was assaulted. Even though she had bled profusely, she was in a stable condition.

“We stabilised her and then attempted to remove the knife, but we stopped when we realised that could lead to more bleeding that could suffocate and ultimately kill her,” said Dr Hussein.

An X-ray image of Ms Ibrahim’s head showed the knife entering her skull on the right side and the tip of the blade exiting on the right. Dr Hussein said his team could have pulled out the knife, but his hospital does not have an intensive care facility that could stabilise the mother of four should the need arise, hence the emergency call to KNH.

The knife appeared to have gone through her nasal cavity, with the blade missing her left eye by a few inches. Pulling out the blade ran the risk of flooding her respiratory system with blood, hence the caution.

A few minutes past 6pm, Ms Ibrahim was wheeled into an Amref rescue plane that would deliver her to Wilson Airport in Nairobi where an ambulance was to take her to KNH.

ALMOST LIFELESS

She was accompanied on the flight by her husband’s nephew and another relative. Her husband, meanwhile, was by last evening in police custody.

Her frail frame, battered by the day-long agony and numbed by medication, had been wrapped in white hospital-issue sheets, leaving her head and the knife sticking from her head exposed.

Her face was swollen, her mouth dry, almost lifeless, and her own blood was caking in her long hair, which was tied in a bun at the back of her head.

As she was belted for the one-hour flight to Nairobi, Ms Ibrahim remained motionless, only tilting her head to the left as the blade through her head glistened in the fading sunlight.

Dr Kate Stoddard of Amref led a team of medical specialists on the mercy mission. He explained that she expected Ms Ibrahim to make it to the city.

“We have given her some painkillers and other drugs to prevent her from vomiting,” she said as the light aircraft prepared to taxi. “Should she get sick she might choke as her airway is compromised by the knife.”

Dr Stoddard explained that, at KNH, the knife would be pulled out under specialised care, and that doctors would repair any damaged blood vessels to prevent excessive bleeding.

Kenyans on social media demanded justice for Ms Ibrahim, under the hashtag #JusticeForFatuma.