80% limb amputations due to negligence from traditional bone setters – Orthopaedic surgeon

80% limb amputations due to negligence from traditional bone setters – Orthopaedic surgeon

A Professor of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Mike Ogirima, has advised accident victims to stop patronising quack, revealing that  80 per cent of amputations carried out in hospitals are due to negligence and mismanagement from traditional bone setters.

The one time president of the Nigerian Medical Association disclosed this during an interview with PUNCH HealthWise<, noting that limbs are not just cut off without a reason.

Prof. Ogirima said there are specific reasons why some accident victims undergo amputation, but that the activities of traditional bonesetters were fuelling most of them.

He said, “There are three indications why the limb is cut off. Primarily, if the limb is so bad or terribly infected that leaving it would lead to death, it has to be amputated. If it is dead and becomes a burden to the patient, it can to be cut off.

“For an accident to cause amputation of the limb, it might be that the injury is so massive that it can’t be reconstructed. If blood supply to the limb has been cut off, there is no reason why such a limb should be left as it can lead to death.

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“We have seen lots of limbs and injuries that have been mismanaged by traditional bone setters. In fact, there are several studies done from the six geopolitical zones of the country showing that 70 to 80 per cent of amputations done in hospitals are due to negligence from traditional bonesetters.

“This is is negligence due to quackery on the part of traditional bone setters. They attend to injuries that are above their limit of operation.”

On how amputees can move and live independently, the professor noted that there are good prostheses that could aid mobility and also help them to move on with their businesses to earn a living.

He said prostheses that can function effectively and compete with natural limbs are available in Nigeria, but are very expensive

“Prostheses are available but affordability depends on an individual’s pocket. Some are above N1m. The should come in to subsidise treatment for amputees.

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“The ones that function effectively and can be used for sporting activities cost between N500, 000 to N1m.  These ones are good but very expensive. Very functional types will help them earn a living and enhance their economic status. They can operate machines with it.

“When these amputees have access to prostheses, they will be able to move from point A to point B. Life is movement and movement is life. A lot of them, if they have prostheses, will not be out on the road begging,” Prof. Ogirima said.

He noted that prostheses have supper advantage over crutches, adding, “With a prosthesis, an amputee can run and compete in sporting activities, but can’t do that with crutches.”

The specialist recommended that more orthopaedic surgeons be trained to handle injuries at the secondary and tertiary levels.

He suggested that medical officers that can see inherent dangers in an injured limb be deployed to primary healthcare centres.

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“We need to educate traditional bone setters on the need for early referral,” he added.

Prof. Ogirima appealed to the to subsidise the cost of prosthetic legs so that poor amputees can afford them and be able to move and live independently again.



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