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AMREF Flying Doctors evacuates Tana River Buffalo attack Victim

An 18-year-old man from Tana River District is battling for life at the Kenyatta National Referral Hospital in Nairobi following an attack by rogue buffalos.

Julius Mtego was evacuated to the National Hospital by AMREF Flying Doctors following an appeal for charity evacuation.

The vicious attack happened on the evening of 8th August 2015 when Julius and in the company of his two colleagues were walking home from work through a grassy and isolated field.  The long grass meant the rogue buffalo was in a perfect position to surprise its victims.

While his two friends managed to escape to safety, Julius was not lucky enough.  Witness account points at a vicious attack during which was the buffalo charged at Julius, grabbed him by the horns and tossed him into the air several times before leaving him with serious injuries to the skull including a fracture with intra cerebral haemorrhage.

It was only after the buffalo stopped the attack that the villagers, who has been keeping a safe distance in the nearby bush, were able to rush an unconscious Julius to the local medical facility within Tana River where first aid was administered and thereafter to be transferred to Coast General referral hospital for further treatment. A head CT scan revealed severe injuries at the base of his skull.

Upon transfer to the Coast General Hospital ICU where he was admitted and was taken to ICU straight due to his low level of consciousness. Unable to breath, the patient was intubated and started on mechanical ventilation.

His delicate condition required urgent review by a neurosurgeon in an appropriately equipped medical facility, hence the need to bring the patient to KNH where the neural surgeon could be found. Additionally, such a delicate transfer can only be performed on air.

Julius’s relatives could not afford such a flight nor take patient to a private hospital hence patient could only be admitted at KNH.

A request for charity evacuation came through on 16th of August 2015.After securing an ICU bed in KNH, we were activated on Monday 17th August and our medical team left Wilson at 1530hrs landed Mombasa airport at 1640hrs.

The team found the patient still in ICU on mechanical ventilation.  The patient was secured on a ventilator, vacuum mattress and kept sedated for the flight. The team landed back in Wilson at 2040hrs and Julius was taken directly to KNH ICU safely.

Follow-up

On follow up at the hospital the patient was reviewed by the neural surgeon put on conservative management and the open reduction and internal fixation(ORIF) was done for the fractured femur.

On 28th August one of the AMREF Flying Doctors nurses visited him and on assessment, the patient was doing well and was in a semi- coma condition.  The patient could move in a purposeful way, such as responding to commands though he couldn’t communicate.  He was able to keep his eye open for longer and longer periods. It’s so sad that he lost his right eye as it was late for the Doctor’s to save it.

On Friday 4th September, the patient was visited again by one of our medical team and this time round he was doing much better and was transferred to the neural ward (ward 4C).He is breathing on his own on occupational and physiotherapy. We trust Julius will get well soon.

Pilot:  Capt. Peter Potgieter

Flight Nurse:  Clement Mburu

Aircraft: 5Y RJA Beechcraft Super King Air

Cost: US$ 7,900

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