By Seun Oyewole
Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara has recorded a major medical feat by successfully performing a knee replacement surgery.
The operation, the first in the institution, was carried out on a 74-year-old Pa Thomas Akhalumemo, who sustained the knee injury as a soldier in 1968 during the civil war and had sought solution without success.
According to Professor Chukwuedo Iwegbu, who led a team of consultants surgeons and an anaesthetist, the operation involved the replacement of the diseased surfaces of the knee with artificial materials called prosthesis.
Iwegbu, an international orthopaedic consultant surgeon described the surgical success as a major milestone since the institution was commissioned in 2010, saying when more materials are put in place, the issue of patients travelling abroad for medical attention would be a thing of the past.
A similar operation was done at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) about a week after that of DELSUTH, but, according to Professor Iwegbu, while that of DELSUTH was performed entirely by internal consultants and the patients discharged, the UBTH case was done with the aid of an external consultant and the patient yet to be discharged.
He said DELSUTH did not announce the success of the operation because it is against medical practice to do so especially when the patient is still recuperating, adding that doing so would amount to putting the cart before the horse.
Pa Akhalumemo said his ordeal started in 1968 during the civil war when he was wounded as a soldier and had been in pains and unable to move freely since then.
He said he had been to several places for treatment and placed on medications but to no avail until the affected leg was successfully operated on at DELSUTH, adding that he could now walk freely without a walking stick or support from anyone.