Man walks into Mpilo Hospital with a spear lodged in his skull

DOCTORS at Mpilo Central Hospital saved the life of an artisanal miner from Inyathi in Bubi district, Matabeleland North who had a spear lodged in his skull.

The victim, Mr Ishmael Tshabalala was attacked following a fierce fight with a rival suitor resulting in him sustaining life-threatening injuries.

During the fight, Mr Tshabalala was stabbed with a spear in the head and the spear was stuck in his skull.

Dr Garikai Mwale, a specialist neurosurgeon at the hospital who was among the doctors who conducted a surgical operation to remove the spear, said Mr Tshabalala was lucky to be alive after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

“The patient had a penetrating skull injury coming from the front and going out to the side. It passed through the bone, the brain and went to the other side. The patient sustained a serious injury but fortunately when he came to the hospital he was fully conscious,” he said.

Dr Mwale said they managed to stabilise the patient and took a CT (computerised tomography) scan as they prepared for his surgical operation.

“We managed to operate on the patient. The spear also encroached onto one of the bigger veins, one of the sinuses but we managed to control the bleeding,” he said.

Dr Mwale said the patient was yesterday in the Intensive Care Unit but was stable. He said Mr Tshabalala was lucky as the spear missed all his vital organs.

“Severe force was used to penetrate bone in two places and he is very fortunate to be alive. He is fortunate in that the weapon missed all the major blood vessels in the brain,” he said.

Dr Mwale said they are concerned with admissions emanating from violent crimes.

He said almost every weekend they attend to patients with injuries from assaults.

“Doctors who work at the weekends usually attend to many cases of individuals injured from assaults by weapons such knobkerries or stabbing by knives. This is quite a big problem,” said Dr Mwale.

He said such cases were straining limited resources at the hospital.

“When Mr Tshabalala came we were supposed to attend to a patient with a brain tumor but we had to postpone the surgical operation to attend to Mr Tshabalala since his case was an emergency,” said Dr Mwale.

He said he was the only neurosurgeon at the hospital and generally the hospital has few doctors who at times are overwhelmed by demand for their services.

Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Dr Narcacius Dzvanga said as health authorities they were worried by increased cases of violence leading to injuries and sometimes d£ath.

He blamed widespread and alcohol abus£ which he said needs to be addressed urgently.

“There is a lot of substance abuse out there among the youth hence the increased cases of violence.

We witness very frightening cases of people coming to the hospital with spears stuck in their heads,” said Dr Dzvanga.

Sources said Mr Tshabalala and is assailant were fighting over a woman.

“The case is under police investigation and these guys are small scale miners in Inyathi who were fighting over a woman,” said the source.


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