Forward Nyanyiwa Features Correspondent
Zimbabwe has once again achieved another health milestone.
First, in July 2014, Dr Bothwell Mbuwayesango of Harare Hospital led a successful separation of two conjoined twins.
The twins were joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver.
This time around, a team of urologists have added another feather on their cap.
On Thursday September 12, 2019, the country woke up to the refreshing news that the country had broken a world record-on the health front. A team of local surgeons led by Dr Shingirayi Meki successfully removed a 11-year-old kidney cyst weighing 12,3kg from a patient. The previous world record was held by Japanese surgeons who had removed an 11,5kg kidney cyst. It was a feel good story that also kept the world’s prying cameras fixed on Zimbabwe. The country had exhibited its potential.
But it wasn’t a stroll in the park.
A series of meetings, preparations and “mental drills” took place before the surgery.
A team comprising about five anesthetists, over four surgeons and some on standby, scrub nurse and her assistants was assembled to partake the surgery.
Dr Meki vividly recalls the events prior to the record breaking procedure.
“It was hectic and challenging, but we had to take it head on,” he said. “The patient was referred to me by Dr Mvurume another specialist urologist who told her that we could help. She brought with her CT scans which revealed a big mass in the abdomen, akin to a term pregnancy and it was horrible. She had lived with it for over 11 years and because of the nature of her job, she could no longer stomach the questions from the public who continued to pester her as to when she was going to deliver.”
Dr Meki narrated that the actual patient counselling was not a problem since Dr Mvurume had undertook her through some sessions, highlighting some of the dangers and she was ready.
Dr Meki said the onus was now on them, but their major worry was the prospect of bleeding from some related and adjacent organs. The fear of bleeding, he recalls, was heightened when the patient exhibited anaemic traits.
“We did our mental drills, anticipating the possible dangers we could encounter and our major worry was bleeding from adjacent organs,” said Dr Meki. “We knew the patient would bleed and that had to be managed.
“The patient came showing signs of anaemia. She had no blood and we had to alert the relevant department and other doctors to be on call fearing for the worst. Blood reserves had to be readily available.
“The other problem was to find a competent anaesthetist. One who was to be conscious of the task at hand prepared to consume “the heat”, and luckily Dr Mabvanyangira presented himself. He had five other anaesthetists with him. It was now a complete team together with a scrub nurse and her assistants. We did it.”
The procedure took about five hours (300 minutes) and it went on successfully until the patient regained to life in the recovery room.
They managed to maintain the blood loss to a commendable 300mls.
The team had just finished a world breaking record surgery with limited apparatus.
Dr Meki believes they showed character and capacity and he urged the general public to have faith in local hospitals.
“We have just shown the world our capacity and I want to say people must visit our public hospitals and compare what we can do and not,” he said.
“We have the technical know-how to serve the nation so let’s save money by avoiding medical tourism.”
Dr Meki is of the view that the country should modernise its hospitals to meet world standards, to make the job easier.
“We must only equip our hospitals with modern apparatus to do all the complex surgeries,” he said.
“We can do it and I want to thank all my team members for a job well done. It’s not about the world record, to us its’ just another job easily executed.”