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8 year-old's 'handy' new lease of life

Friday, November 16, 2018
By A Staff Reporter

Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children (BJWHC), Parel successfully repaired and restored the hand function of an eight-year-old boy, Talha Umar Shaikh whose left hand was severely deformed and scarred after secondary infection  due to snake bite. The snake bit Talha when he put his hand behind cupboard to reach out to get his toy. Immediately, the boy hailing from Nanded was taken to a local doctor, who treated him with anti-snake venom injection. However, after a few days, his left hand was swollen due to cellulitis (a common bacterial skin infection) which started spreading. The local doctors suggested that amputation is the only option, following which he was treated at a government hospital in Mumbai who saved the hand but delayed the healing process. But due to the delay in treating him, he developed severe contracture and deformity of his left wrist and hand.

His parents then brought him to Wadia Hospital to improve the functionality of his hand. Dr. Nilesh Satbhai, Plastic, Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgeon, at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children said, "When the patient came to me, he was unable to perform any useful activities with his deformed left hand. The severe skin and muscle necrosis on the dorsal part of his left hand and forearm resulted in gross functional and cosmetic deformity. We planned a surgery to correct the deformity, release the contracture and resurface the defect with a microvascular free tissue transfer.

Microvascular surgery in children is complex and relatively uncommon. Hence it is only  performed at well-equipped tertiary care centers.” Dr. Satbhai added that the musculotoxic venom of the snake had caused scarring of the tissues and blood vessels. Hence the challenge and risk involved in this case were higher than usual. Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala CEO, Wadia Hospital said, "The availability of microvascular skills, intensive care back-up, and logistical requirements are the main limitations for such procedures. BJWHC is equipped with all the microvascular instruments and required infrastructure for such complex surgeries at a very low cost.”

Talha's father, Mahetab Shaikh said, “When we brought him here his left hand was completely deformed, he could not hold any object or make a fist. But now the wounds have healed and the hand movements have started after physiotherapy.”

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