An amputated kid
The Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH)
has since 2015 to 2018 carried out various amputation surgeries for 36 children
between ages one week to 16 years.
The children underwent the surgeries
as a result of road and domestic accidents they suffered within the period.
Dr. Noel Tolgou Yempabe, the
consultant orthopaedic and head of the Trauma Unit at the TTH, said most of the
amputations could have been prevented if not for delays at traditional
Dr. Yempabe disclosed that although bonesetters
play an important role in managing fractures by using traditional methods, their
activities mostly lead to severe complications resulting in the amputations and
other health risks, especially among children.
He said most patients with fractured
injuries first port of call usually is non-hospital services, delaying their arrival
at the hospital with complications like massive swelling associated with pain
which could cause amputations.
Dr. Yempabe stated that these
complications contribute significantly in prolonging hospital stays, increased financial
expenditure and psychological burden on caregivers.
He indicated that amputations in
children were uncommon and often done in emergency situations as life-saving
procedures or as planned cases resulting from congenital limb deficiencies.
“Whatever the case may be, losing a
limb is a difficult and emotional situation for the patient, family and the
health professionals who were directly involved in the care of the patient. Even
though the trauma-related amputations are often done in a haste to save the
child’s life, the orthopaedic surgeon must pay critical attention to the basic
principles of creating a prosthetic friendly stump like adjustment of the limb
which is also costly,” Dr. Yempabe added.
He indicated that after successfully
undergoing amputations, amputee children face numerous physical and
psychosocial challenges with possible denting implications on future
functionality and ambitions.
Dr. Yempabe said rehabilitation and
obtaining the right prosthesis are extremely important in providing some
psychological and physical support, adding that there should be limb prosthesis
that provides physical support for children to enable them to participate in
some activities of daily living.
He advised members of the public to
ensure that trauma cases are taken to the hospital as first port of call for
proper medical care to save the victims from amputation.