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Surgeons remove axe stuck in man’s head

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06 May
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Doctors in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo have managed to save a man who had an axe buried in his skull fractions of a millimetre away from vital blood vessels. Sipho Ndebele, 31, was told that the “slightest mistake” during an operation to remove the axe at Mpilo Central Hospital could have killed him.

But there was no mistake and the man is now out of intensive care.This is the story of a man who cheated death several times over. A fellow herdsman hit Ndebele with an axe in the southern Nkayi district on Monday, in an apparent dispute over whose turn it was to look after some cattle, according to the report. When villagers found Ndebele in a pool of blood, the axe embedded in his skull, they thought he was already dead.

He was transported anyway in a scotch-cart to a local clinic. There, nurses told the villagers that Ndebele was actually still alive. But the operation was beyond their capability. So the man was referred to a second clinic: Nkayi District Clinic.Ndebele said he has little memory of the trauma and the deliberations, though he remembered the pain of having someone hold the axe in place so that it didn’t sink any deeper into his skull.

“I drifted in and out of consciousness most of the time. What I remember is the excruciating pain,” he said.Officials at Nkayi District Clinic said the axe could not be removed there either. So Ndebele was transferred to Mpilo District Hospital – a third institution 150km away. There doctors managed to remove the axe. They said the axe “went through the bone and rested on the brain matter,” added the report. It had been there for a staggering 14 hours. Hospital Clinical Director Solwayo Ngwenya said Ndebele was “unbelievably lucky”. He is was discharged from hospital. His attacker has been arrested.

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