A team of medical experts at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has successfully conducted a landmark surgery by re-joining the completely severed wrist of a patient.
Mr Victor Atikpo, a factory worker, had his wrist completely chopped off when a colleague accidentally switched on a machine he (Atikpo) was servicing.
The surgery, which took place on April 21, 2018 and lasted about seven hours, saw the repair of about 25 structures in the wrist.
The medical team worked on blood vessels, tendons, nerves and the wrist bone.
The Head of the medical team that conducted the surgery, Dr Edem Kofi Anyigba, explained to the Daily Graphic that preparations for the surgery, which included preparing the severed wrist and the patient, were started at 6 p.m. when the patient reported to the hospital.
According to him, the success of the surgery was largely dependent on factors such as the timely reporting of the accident to the hospital, preserving the severed wrist properly and having the right expertise.
“We have a way of keeping the wrist. You keep it in plastic bag, tie it and then put it on ice. Usually when you have an amputation, you need to keep it cool and away from water,” he said.
Dr Anyigba considered the availability of a powerful microscope as a major factor for the success of the surgery, as many hospitals had the expertise but did not have the microscope.
The Carl Ziess Opmi microscope, which was donated to the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre of Korle Bu was capable of enlarging by 30 to 40 times the original size of things, according to him.
“In the whole country, I think we are the only centre that has a microscope which is one of the best in the world,” he said.
He called on health and safety regulators in the country to ensure that workers operating machines and equipment in factories were well trained and certified.
He advised workers to wear protective gear at all times and also encouraged factory owners to acquire censored machines that were responsive to human interference.
“The world standard is that generally they should have censors. As soon as the human body goes there, the machine stops immediately. Certainly, that is not the kind of machines we are using,” he observed.
Mr Atikpo, who works in a rubber factory in Accra, said he was working on a machine when a colleague unsuspectingly turned on the machine, which resulted in his hand being chopped off.
He was quickly rushed to the LEKMA Hospital, then the 37 Military Hospital and subsequently Korle Bu.
Mr Atikpo, who was discharged from the hospital last Saturday, May 5, 2018, was optimistic that he would recover fully, as he was capable of moving his hand well.