A 32-year-old Kenyan car driver, Kiare Michael Chege, got a new lease of life after doctors at a private hospital here reconstructed his face that was disfigured by bullet injuries.
Mr. Chege, who had been in Lourdes Hospital since June, undergoing a series of surgeries, was an employee of LOTS Shipping Company and was driving the car in which the firm’s chief executive officer Renjith T. Nelluvelli was travelling, when they were attacked by dacoits in South Sudan in May.
While the CEO was killed, Mr. Chege suffered serious bullet injuries in the face.
A bullet entered his neck and went through his mouth, shattering his palate and cheek bone and came out through the eye, resulting in irreversible injury to his left eye.
The injuries were about a month old when he reached here.
The treatment that he had back home had healed his wounds but had left a gaping hole on the front of his face where his eye was. The hole extended downwards through the palate into his mouth.
He could not close his mouth fully and could not chew food.
He had also lost his sense of smell because of the damage to the olfactory nerves. For Dr. Ram Mohan, maxillofacial surgeon and Dr. Chacko Cyriac, plastic surgeon, it was painstaking work to reconstruct the face by using parts of cartilage, bone and skin from other parts of the body.
It was his boss Captain Philip at LOTS Shipping who suggested that he come to Kerala for surgery.
There was a gaping hole on his face where his eye and cheek were. After the frame of the face was ready, Dr. Cyriac conducted over five major surgeries to reconstruct his face.
Once his facial form was ready, an artificial eye shell was placed where his eye was.
Kenyan victim of armed robbery awaits face reconstruction surgery
Kiare Michael Chege from Kenya is full of hope and is keeping his fingers crossed about having a good result after the surgery on Wednesday that will be the first in the series to reconstruct a part of his face that was lost to bullet injuries.
The shoot-out in Sudan that killed the chief operating officer of LOTS Shipping, Renjith T. Nelluveli, had left the 32-year old driver of his car with serious injuries.
The injuries are about a month old now. He writes down certain words to make one understand what he wants to say. His speech is nasal and he is unable to move his jaws.
The treatment that he had back home had healed his wounds but has left a gaping hole on the front of his face where his eye was. The hole extended downwards through the palate into his mouth. “I was driving at 85 kmph speed when three robbers came out of a bush and started shooting from a distance with AK-47 rifles. I couldn’t turn back as it was too late and we got hit”, wrote down Mr. Chage on a piece of paper when asked to recall the ambush.
The bullet that entered his body below the right ear took a path upward and forward, reaching the left side damaging his eye and a large part of the facial skeleton while narrowly missing the major blood vessels to his brain. The fractured fragments of his facial skeleton are in disarray and his face also has fragments of bullets. He has also lost his sense of smell because of the damage to the olfactory nerves. Lourdes Hospital, where he is admitted to undergo multiple procedures, gives him a liquid diet.
“It was my boss Captain Philip at LOTS Shipping who suggested that I come to Kerala for the surgery”, said Mr. Chege, who said that his company had arranged for the treatment here. “My folks are looking forward to seeing me home with a restored face”, he said about his parents, wife and 2-year-old daughter back home in Kiambu near Nairobi.
Maxillofacial surgeon Ram Mohan, ENT surgeon George Kuruvila and plastic surgeon Chacko Cyriac will be performing the surgeries to restore and reconstruct Mr. Chege’s left side of the face, also giving him an artificial eye to fill the gap.