Kenyan boy gets severed hand reattached after ‘miracle’ surgery

Joseph Theuri speaks to journalists at KNH on Wednesday, February 8, 2018. Photo: JOHN MUCHANGI/ The Star, Kenya

A17-year-old Kenyan boy whose hand was severed by a lawn mower has been given a second chance after doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi reattached the hand.

Joseph Theuri’s right hand was cut off from the wrist on January 26 when he accidentally turned on the machine while cleaning at home in Kiambaa, Kiambu County, reports local news portal The Star.

“I did not immediately realise my palm was not there. On checking, I saw my hand bleeding. The palm had been thrown away. I collected it and started shouting for help,” Theuri told The Star.

The surgery is arguably the first to have been done in Sub-Saharan Africa after the boy was admitted at the hospital with the severed hand in a polythene bag.

“This was the first ever such surgery in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. We are pleased to inform the country that Theuri is recuperating well in the ward and has regained mobility of his fingers,” said the hospital’s CEO Lily Koros.

The seven-hour surgery was done on the same day of the accident by two medical teams led by Dr Wanjala Nang’ole and Prof Stanley Khainga who are also professors at the University of Nairobi School of Medicine.

“We immediately began assembling a team which included Kenya’s top plastic surgeons and theatre nurses among others,” Koros said.

“Two teams were constituted with one team preparing the hand and the other team working on the stump. This was very important to save on time,” explained Dr Wanjala Nang’ole.

The procedure included the identification of blood vessels, nerves and tendons, aligning and fixing the bones, repairing and joining the arteries and the tendons. The operation was successful and blood flow was restored after three hours, the doctor told the media.

The boy was discharged after 10 days and is expected to attend physiotherapy sessions until the hand is healed. The tendons are expected to take about two months to heal completely while nerves will be fully restored within four to five months.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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