Wael Bhagat, 31, on his hospital bed recuperating. [Graham Kajilwa, Standard]

How he survived the horrific road crash early this month is the stuff that movies are made of. But his, is a true story.

On April 3, at 4pm, the vehicle Wael Bhagat was travelling in from Meru veered off a hilly road in Embu, and went tumbling downhill.

The 31-year-old might have lost consciousness for a while, but not his will to live.

When he regained consciousness, he realised that his left foot was severed at the ankle and that he was bleeding profusely.

The Egyptian knew very little about Kenya. He was barely a week old in the country, and now, in the middle of nowhere, dying. His friend, who was with him in the vehicle, was already dead.

Bhagat pulled himself out of the wreckage and did the unimaginable. He picked the severed part of his foot and dragged himself uphill before he finally collapsed on the road.

A lady motorist saw him and rushed him to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the Embu Level 5 hospital, doctors and clinicians rushed to save his life. The first decision was to have his badly damaged leg amputated and the severed foot discarded.

“I refused. I knew my foot could be re-attached,” Bhagat told The Standard from his hospital bed at Coptic Hospital, Nairobi.

The language barrier was also a challenge at the hospital. 

Without consent for amputation, and a stubborn foreign patient, doctors at Embu had no choice but to get in touch with specialists. So they called in the same specialists who re-attached a 17-year-old boy's wrist after it was severed by a chaff cutter in January.

“They were informed that such a surgery was possible, my foot was put in a freezer and arrangements made for me to be transferred to Coptic Hospital,” recounts Bhagat.

Without refrigeration, the foot would have survived for just 12 hours, and it would have been  impossible to re-attach its muscles and nerves, which would have died due to lack of blood supply.

At Coptic, surgeons took 11 hours and 12 units of blood to fix his leg. He had been separated from his foot for over six hours by then.

Stanley Khainga, who conducted the surgery, says it was successful, but Bhagat will need at least six months to fully recover. The only major challenge, according to the doctor, was how to get nerves and muscles to aid the reattachment of the foot.

In this case, Prof Khainga harvested the nerves and muscles from Bhagat’s good leg.

The Sh2.5 million surgery was covered by Coptic Hospital's management. Bhagat will now have to wait for the doctors' clearance before he travels back home.

But Bhagat is okay with that, and he does not regret defying the pain to drag himself to the road, clutching onto his severed foot, and refusing to let go.

He could have lost it, now he has it back. Though  it is yet to regain its full feeling, he can at least lift it.

Smiling from his bed, Bhagat is grateful that finally he will be able to walk again.

“I was happy when I arrived in Kenya, but I am happier now that I have my leg back,"he said.

At the hospital, his cousin, Ahmed Abdihamid helped with this interview's translation.

He was called in by the hospital after the accident, and did no initially know his visiting cousin had been involved in such an accident.