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Baby Satrin conquers terrorist bullet

Satrin to lead a normal life after doctors successfully remove killer bullet Medics prepare to operate on baby Satrin Tuesday.

By Abigael Sum and Kiundu Waweru

Nairobi, Kenya: Surgeons have successfully removed the bullet that as lodged in the head of baby Satrin Osinya, the face of the Likoni church terror attack.

The nation heaved a sigh of relief Tuesday after five doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital successfully retrieved the bullet from Satrin's skull after a three-hour operation. Such was the emotional attachment to the case that head of Neurosurgery at Kenyatta National Hospital Dr Peter Gichuru Mwangi said a prayer before the operation started at 8.30am.

The other neurosurgeons in the team were Drs Julius Kiboi, Samuel Njiri, Mohan Nilesh and Chris Musau.

Baby Satrin woke up after the three-hour procedure with no neurological deficit. Back at the ward, held closely by his aunt, the baby looked well but drowsy.

He could move his limbs, and even let out a loud cry.

The doctors, however, said even though Satrin is expected to lead a normal life, they cannot undo the primary injury caused by the bullet.

At 8.30am, the delicate surgery started with a standard neurosurgical procedure performed via an intricate and safe brain dissection, according to the neurosurgeons. 

The bullet was then localised and retrieved without any complications.

“We opened the covering of the brain then followed the track of the bullet to where it was lodged, after which we retrieved it successfully,” said Dr Mwangi, who led the team.

Dr Mwangi explained that the bullet was sitting close to major blood vessels and even a slight wrong move would haveled to paralysis.

“It was a complex surgery because the brain is a soft organ, almost like porridge. You don’t just go in and pull out the bullet.”

Actual procedure

He added:  “By removing the bullet we have minimised the chances of the child getting epilepsy in the future, as opposed to leaving the bullet lodged in his head.”

Prior to the delicate operation, a neurosurgical team met for the most part of Monday to plan for the surgery.

“Planning accounts for 70 per cent of the surgery while the actual procedure takes only 30 per cent. For most part of Monday we calculated the process of retrieving the bullet because in such cases you must have a three-dimension view,” said Dr Mwangi.

It was during that meeting that they got to know the extent of the bullet’s entry into the skull.

They weighed the pros and cons of the operation, with a radiologist, Dr Alfred Odhiambo helping in the planning of the operation from geometric measurements and projections.

The radiologist projected the penetration of the bullet to be 65mm from the point of entry, and lying at an angle of 45 degrees.

The cons included possible infections after opening the brain and epilepsy.

“But luckily, there were no infections,” said Dr Mwangi. “The antibiotics and the treatment Satrin underwent for the one week helped.”

Dr Mwangi led a team of four neurosurgeons, Dr Chris Musau, Dr Julius Kiboi and Dr Samwel Njiru together with five lieutenants (assisting doctors) and one general doctor. They dissected the brain tissues in the area of the above measurements and they got “right bang” to the bullet, as Dr Mwangi put it.


The doctors were satisfied with the outcome with Dr Mwangi noting it will take about seven to ten days for the baby to recover, after which he could be released to be with his family. Satrin’s father, Benson Osinya was very excited, happy and grateful after his son came out of the operating room.

“I am very happy and thankful for the prayers and support we have received since the incident. I am grateful to God that the operation had no complications and for the good work that the doctors have done,” he said.

With the operation out of the way, however, the family is sadly thinking about the burial of Satrin’s mother, who died in the Likoni church attack.

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