A Seven-year-old Benevolence Iticha during a press conference on October 21, 2020, at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). KNH doctors successfully reattached his hand after a chaff cutter chop it off. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) once again completed another unique surgery after performing a hand reattachment.

The KNH multi-disciplinary team of surgeons and other specialists performed the procedure successfully on a seven-year-old boy.

Young Benovelence Iticha got his hand accidentally chopped off by a chaff cutter on October 4, 2020, at their home in Kiambu.

The chopped hand was transported to KNH in a cool box, then the team of specialists embarked on an intricate 10 hours’ surgical procedure that reclaimed the boy’s hand. The boy arrived at KNH accident and emergency unit 2 hours after the accident.

Anthony Iticha, the father of the patient said the unfortunate event was going to be stuck in his memory. 

He recalled that on the fateful day, they were preparing to go to church and they decided to chop some grass for the cows first. His son joined him to offer a helping hand and in the process, he lost his hand from the wrist part.

The boy screamed and ran to his mother was, and after discovering the hand was missing the mother took the hand, placed it in a shopping bag and rushed the child to Nazareth Hospital.

“The boy was bleeding so much, I took my scarf to contain the bleeding and carried the hand to the nearest health facility.

The joyful father could not hide his excitement and appreciation to the Kenyatta team which made sure his son did not lose his hand.

“ The doctors were regularly giving us update and hope that the procedure would be successful, and this is an indication that Kenya has good doctors we can depend on and we need to be proud of them,” said Iticha

The complex hand reattachment operation is the fifth successful surgery of its kind that Kenyatta National Hospital has performed since a similar case was presented in February 2018

“This shows we are becoming even better at the game every day,” said Dr Kennedy Ondede, a surgeon at KNH.

Benevolence Iticha and his parents Anthony Iticha and Lydia Iticha during a press conference October 21, 2020, at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The success of the surgery and the hand regaining function is attributed to the time of presentation on how long it took from injury time to when the patient was presented to the hospital.

Such cases of severed limbs often happen but unfortunately, the patients get late to the hospital when very little can be done to save their body parts.

“The challenge with this operation is distance as they need to get to us at a certain time frame in order to be able to reconnect the blood supply to the amputated part.” Says Dr Wabwire.

Dr Wabwire who was the lead surgeon and also head of plastic surgery department at KNH said the boy came to the facility from Nazareth Hospital where he was first presented when he lost his right arm. He was taken to theatre where a team of nurses, anaesthetists, plastic surgeon and orthopaedic surgeon attended to him.

It’s now 16 days since Benovelence left the surgery room, but he has undergone another one more surgery to correct a wound that was left to allow the hand to heal and he is also undergoing occupational therapy and physiotherapy to ensure his fingers gain sensitivity because nerves take time to gain sensation.

Doctors are optimistic that Benevolence, being of a younger will have faster recovery compared to other older patients who have had their severed limbs reattached.

 “But doing such surgeries on children is not an easy task, as their blood vessels are still small compared to adults but the advantage is that the chance of the surgery being successful after joining the structures is higher," added Dr Wabwere.

The boy is now stable and recuperating in the ward as he continues with treatment. He can move his fingers which is a positive sign of recovery.

Kenyatta Hospital has proven itself to be home to such complex surgeries as it pursues being a multi-specialty centre of excellence by offering services that meet international standards.