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New unit allows Sebokeng Hospital to perform brain surgery



Sebokeng Hospital in Gauteng made history this past week when it performed its first brain surgeries on two patients, who have been suffering from subdural haematoma (bleeding in the brain).

The Gauteng Health Department said this was a major milestone in over 40 years of the hospital’s existence, which comes after the recent establishment of a neurosurgery unit at the hospital.

Previously, the provincial Health Department said, Sebokeng Hospital referred patients in need of brain surgery to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH).

“The establishment of a neurosurgery unit will see the reduction of the high prevalence of mortality and morbidity of traumatic brain injury patients in the Sedibeng District.”

Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, congratulated the team, saying the surgery bears evidence to the support given by the provincial department to capacitate its centres of excellence by ensuring that health facilities have the right skills and equipment to render services to the public.

“As part of reclaiming the jewel of the Gauteng public health system, one of our key focus areas is to ensure that our facilities function optimally and that infrastructure challenges are addressed as this has a direct bearing on positive health outcomes,” explained the MEC.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr Fhatuwani Mbara, said many patients who presented at the facility with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) were demising due to a lack of immediate neurosurgical interventions.

“TBI patients were occupying ICU beds for a prolonged duration with no definite management plan because a majority of the patients require different types of operations ranging from skull, brain and spine surgeries.

“The newly established unit and the highly skilled team we have will ensure that we reduce head injury-related deaths that are sustained by our patients, especially men of younger age groups.”

The first patient was a man who experienced weakness on the right side of his body and was unable to walk or talk.

The neurosurgery team did a craniotomy on him, stopped the bleeding and removed the blood clot. The operation took two hours to perform.

Meanwhile, the second patient is a young man who was injured three months ago and had a subdural haematoma.

“A craniotomy was also done on him and the clot was removed, however, his brain was severely swollen due to the injury. The team did a cranioplasty to protect the brain from potential physical harm.”

Cranioplasty is a surgical operation on the repairing of cranial defects caused by previous injuries or operations.

The two patients, according to the provincial department, have recovered well and were discharged this past weekend to spend time with their loved ones. 

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