Surgeons at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) have successfully removed a knife lodged into a teenager’s head through the eye.
Abdi Shakur Saidi, a Form Two student from Nairobi’s Kayole estate, was walking home with his friends on New Year’s Eve when he was attacked and stabbed in the eye by unknown assailants.
The teenager was rushed to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital at around 2:00 am while unconscious due to excessive bleeding.
Shakur was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) as doctors at Mama Lucy could not perform the delicate surgery.
After extensive consultations with various specialists at KNH, the boy’s family was informed about the possible outcomes of the operation, including loss of eyesight and even death. They consented to the surgery.
Following an examination by ophthalmologists Dr. Rhoda Munene and Dr. PT Nyaga, it was established that the knife was firmly stuck in his brain.
Though the surgery was urgent, Dr. Nyaga says they could not perform it immediately and had put the patient on antibiotics and painkillers.
“There was also the issue of ICU. Given that this hospital is a national referral, the chances of having a bed just lying around is low and so we also had to ensure we had a bed waiting for him in the ICU after surgery,” Dr. Nyaga said.
After a five-day wait, Shakur was finally wheeled into the theatre on January 5th, which happened to be his 18th birthday.
During the 12-hour surgery, surgeons opened his orbit (the bony cavity in the skull that houses the eyeball) and found the eye was completely ruptured.
They were forced to remove the orbit so they could see the bones well and were able to see the extent of the stab, making it possible to dislodge the knife.
“Here is a young jovial teenager with his whole life ahead of him and the mood was tense because despite our experience we are aware that all patients are different and the outcomes are also different,” said Dr. Munene.
Dr. Omar Ahmednassir, who was part of a team of neurosurgeons that assisted in the operation, said: “Major blood vessels were not injured and the patients had no indication of stroke so he was taken to ICU and removed from the ventilator the next day.”
The operation alone cost approximately Sh500,000 but it was done for free. KNH CEO Dr. Evanson Kamuri said saving Shakur’s life was important, adding that the family could not afford the treatment.
Shakur lost his left eye and will be provided with spectacles with locally made prosthetics mounted on them.