DOCTORS at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) working with their colleagues from Mpilo Central Hospital saved the life of an artisanal miner from Gwanda District, that was hanging by a thread following a gruesome attack that left a spear lodged in his neck after it was thrust through his mouth.
Only last month doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital saved the life of an artisanal miner from Inyathi in Bubi District, Matabeleland North who also had a spear lodged in his skull.
Dr Tongesai Mukosera
The victim, Mr Ishmael Tshabalala was attacked following a fierce fight with a rival suitor resulting in him sustaining life-threatening injuries.
During the fight, Mr Tshabalala was stabbed with a spear in the head and the spear was stuck in his skull.
In the Gwanda incident, Mr Freeman Ncube (23) was also attacked following fierce fight with a man who had taken his wife, resulting in him sustaining the life-threatening injuries.
During the fight, Mr Ncube had a spear thrown at him and it went right through the mouth to his neck and got stuck there.
Having been operated on Wednesday morning, he said he was grateful to the doctors for saving his life.
“I am very grateful to the doctors. I was not even sure if l would survive this ordeal.”
He said he was attacked when he visited the mother of his two-year-old daughter who was now co-habitating with a man he knew from the area.
Mr Ncube said when he got to the residence the assailant attacked him with an unknown object.
He tried to escape but the assailant came with a spear and threw it at him at close range and it got in through the mouth and got stuck in the neck.
He was rushed to the hospital in Gwanda from where he was immediately referred to UBH.
Minister Judith Ncube
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Judith Ncube yesterday paid a courtesy call on the medical team that performed the surgery and to see how Mr Ncube was recovering.
She commended the work that was done by the doctors saying it was testament that the country’s professionals were dedicated to their work.
“Thank you so much for the job well done we salute you. We are so grateful as the Government and the people of Zimbabwe for the services that are being rendered by our professionals to the citizens.
“We are here to inform the public and nation that at UBH and Mpilo Central Hospital we have great professionals who are so dedicated and committed to their work. I want to make an appeal to our stakeholders let’s support our institutions,” she said.
“When I was discussing with the doctors I got so touched that they wish they could get all the support they need at a given time. In this case if everything that was required for the operation was not in place, we would have been talking of something else.”
Minister Ncube said it was pleasing to see the professionals from various institutions working together as a team and there was a need for citizens or residents of Bulawayo to support them.
She added: “We are so proud to let other countries read about our success stories. To the doubting Thomases, let us prove them wrong because we still have our good and dedicated professionals within the country. Those saying we no longer have professionals in the country and our health institutions have collapsed, it is not true, here is a success story to prove ourselves as a country.”
She said the doctors have proved to the nation and beyond that they do have the capacity to attend to any life-threatening cases.
She called on the artisanal and small-scale miners to desist from violence and resolve issues amicably.
The Minister said the miners were positively contributing to the growth of the mining sector and development of the economy which was critical for the growth of the country.
Dr John Kutsukutsa, an ear, nose and throat specialist consultant at the hospital who was among the doctors who conducted the surgical operation to remove the spear, said Mr Ncube was lucky to be alive after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
“It was a horrible sight. The spear was still in situ when he was brought in. It went right through the upper lip, an upper tooth was removed and the lower teeth were chipped. The spear went through the lip and out into the root of the neck.
“Some of the key neck muscles with the big vessels that supply the head and neck structures were not affected, so if it had gotten into some of these important vessels of the neck, he would not even have made it here coming all the way from Gwanda,” he said.
He said their main worry was how far the spear had gone into the neck and whether it had hooks since there was no imaging that had been brought together with the patient.
Dr John Kutsukutsa
Dr Kutsukutsa said they had to cut open his lip so that they could free his head and used anesthesia to put him to sleep.
“We had to do a neck dissection and follow the weapon all the way until we got to see how the object was like inside. The other challenge was that we were not sure what sort of tip the spear had, lucky for him it was one without hooks. Once we felt it then we were able to gently probe it out,” he said.
“As soon as we took it out there was a lot of bleeding. The first day we had to put him to sleep the whole night because we did not want him coughing and disturbing what we had done. He has just been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and will be ready to go home even tomorrow (today).”
UBH surgery head of department and consultant general surgeon, Dr Tongesai Mukosera said they were grateful for the teamwork and dedication that was put into the surgery for it to be a success.
“Having also taken part in this operation, teamwork was critical as colleagues from Mpilo Central Hospital responded to the call and came promptly. We were able to guide each other and come out with such a successful procedure to save his life.”
He said special appreciation also goes to colleagues from Mpilo Central Hospital such as senior consultant surgeon from Dr Mambote Ntoto, anesthetists Dr Elena Poskochinova and Dr Tawanda Ngwenya as well as their dedicated theatre and ICU staff together with ward nurses.
UBH acting clinical director Dr Harrison Rambanapasi said: “I feel very proud because as UBH we are a vibrant team of specialists in various departments and as such we were able to manage this delicate case. Due to the uncertainties in this case we had to rope in other specialists from Mpilo Central Hospital, a fellow Government hospital, so that we could work together to assist this client. The two hospitals are not in competition and they always work together, complementing each other and leveraging on each other’s strengths.”
He urged citizens and communities to find non-violent ways of resolving their differences. Sunday News