Neurosurgeon works his magic on patients

Dr Tharun Krishna is a shining light in a dark place that is North West health.

Krishna, a neurosurgeon from India who specialised in trauma-of-the-brain surgeries, has been a ray of hope at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, which has been beset by problems.

In March, he performed a delicate operation on Tshepiso Mothibi, a 23-year-old man from Magoegoe village in Mahikeng who had a sharp homemade shank knife penetrate his left eye into his brain.

Krishna has to date performed two such surgeries that most doctors and health professionals in the province thought were impossible.

Krishna said that when Mothibi was airlifted to the hospital after being stabbed with a sharp object, he wondered whether his team would be able to perform a successful operation.

"When I saw that it was cutting all the important structures, then I knew that this man will be extremely lucky if he comes out of surgery alive."

He said the attack on Mothibi could have led to a permanent loss of sight and brain injury.

"It's a freak incident. This happens once in a blue moon," he said.

"We had to perform a craniotomy. It means creating a window in the skull, by using an electric cutter."

Krishna said he has seen a lot of injuries of head trauma from assaults with blunt or sharp objects but Mothibi's one was scary.

"If you simply try to pull that out, it can immediately open up and [the patient will] bleed to death," he said.

Krishna said they had to carefully disengage and withdraw the knife from the brain without causing internal bleeding or injury to the structures of the brain. The surgery took five hours.

In August he operated on an infant from Vryburg who had a brain sack growing out of his skull.

Doctors who had seen the boy had declared his condition inoperable and said he would die within weeks of birth.

The boy, Goitsemodimo Leselo, will celebrate his first birthday on May 15.

Asked how he planned his successful surgeries that most doctors were scared to do, the neurosurgeon said: "I don't think that I have any special powers or anything; I just do the best I can".

Mahikeng hospital CEO Polaki Mokatsane said Mothibi's operation was very complex.

"The 3D picture taken by use of the CT scan machine shows that the whole sharp side of the knife was impacted and buried into the brain with only the handle side of the knife sticking outside."

Mothibi's sister, Keneilwe Mothibi, said what happened to her brother was a miracle.

"We still cannot believe that he is alive. We thank God for the sterling job that the hospital doctors have done. We are grateful for his second chance to live," she said.

Mothibi said: "I am lucky to be alive,"