Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

The humble doctors who made history

By Tendai Chara

After eight solid hours, a heroic surgical team successfully separated Siamese twins Tapiwanashe and Kupakwashe.

Bothwell Mbuwayesango
Bothwell Mbuwayesango

The delicate operation — led by surgeon Mr Bothwell Mbuwayesango — saw the Zimbabwean team paying meticulous attention to the smallest of details. The most delicate part of the operation was on the liver, which had to be cut into two to ensure both boys were left with a portion each.

Mr Mbuwayesango’s fear was the possibility of the boys losing a lot of blood, which would have resulted in death. And when the last suture was done, thunderous applause and ululation signalled the successful completion of the “miracle surgery”.

It was the stuff of history, the stuff of dreams, and only gifted hands and minds could have accomplished it.

President Mugabe has called the 50 professionals the “A Team”; but they remain humble in success.

For Mr Mbuwayesango, this was “any other day in office” — albeit a particularly tough one. He attributed the success to teamwork and proper planning, which included several mock operations using dummies.

“We were not far off the mark. What we encountered during the mock exercises is what we discovered during real surgery. Although we had not done such an operation before, we took the operation as any other assignment. We had done even more complicated operations before. To us, it was just another day in the office,” said the surgeon, who is respectfully referred to as “baba” by his team.

“It took us two months of meticulous planning and by the time we conducted the operation, I would say we were more than prepared. Everything went on smoothly. From the drills that we had been conducting, we knew pretty well what lay ahead of us. The boys are doing just fine. They are strong and getting better by the day.”

The only concern doctors have relate to the boys’ abdominal wall cover, which could be taken care of through skin-grafting. Sunday Mail