A one-and-a-half-year-old female child from Tororo District was amputated yesterday at Kumi Orthopaedic Centre after presenting with a rotten hand, which doctors say could have been caused by the wrong placement of a cannula or a wrong injection.
Dr John Ekure, a senior orthopaedic surgeon and director of the Orthopedic Centre in eastern Uganda, told this publication last evening that the mother was still with the child at the facility.
“It was probably caused by some kind of injection which was given into the hand in the wrong area or wrong vessel. The child ended up with dry gangrene (a condition where the blood supply to some part of the body is cut off. The area becomes dry, shrinks, and turns black). The treatment was amputation – the child lost the hand,” Dr Ekure said.
According to scientists, when a cannula is not inserted properly, the medicine, some toxic in nature, can leak into the surrounding tissue, causing damage to the body or even d€ath.
The surgeon said they have been handling such cases of disability resulting from wrong or poor injection, the problem he said is partly resulting from poor quality of healthcare in some facilities.
“The child comes from Tororo, but I don’t know the exact facility within Tororo where the child was getting care from. I don’t know whether the person who administered the injection was qualified or not. But that is something that should be investigated,” he said.
He added: “But we have too many qualified and unqualified [people] who are in the healthcare industry, including those who do traditional medicine. But I am also saying even if someone is qualified, some of these things can happen because the body may react to the medicine in unusual ways. But most likely, the injection was given in the wrong [blood] vessel and this blocked the blood supply.” The parents were not available to give comments by press time.
Speaking to this newspaper last night, the chairperson of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, Prof Joel Okullu, said they had not yet received the complaint, but that they would follow it up.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson of the Health ministry, said: “What we need to establish is where that cannula was put.”
Dr Emmanuel Sserunjogi, a doctor at Lifeline International Hospital in Kampala, said the wrong use of a cannula can cause serious complications.
“Don’t allow tight cannulas [or] cannulas with plaster strapped around the hand. It’s supposed to be a half circle tied around, not full as this can cut off blood supply,” he said on X, a rebranded Twitter.
He added: “Cannulas are supposed to be put in veins and not arteries, this means you need to have it put by a qualified person to avoid this mismatch since you as a patient will never know,” he added.