August 13, 2010
Paralysed woman undergoes successful 4-hour operation

A woman who was left paralyzed following a traffic accident on July 4, 2010, now stands a chance of being mobile again.{{more}}

Following a successful four-hour operation last Saturday, August 7, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), doctors say that the crash victim received the best possible treatment that she could have received in any part of the world.

The surgery, to rectify a fracture to the spine that caused compression of the spinal cord, was performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Badaysi, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Woods and Peter Bowman, Stryker Equipment Representative/ scrub technician with a specialty in spinal fixation.

Bedaysi and Bowman travelled from Trinidad and Tobago to perform the surgery and worked along with Woods in what was defined as a joint effort by the visiting practitioners.

Bedaysi, a neurosurgeon for more than 30 years, said that with the success of the operation, the patient’s likelihood of walking again, though small, is better.

“If nothing was done, there would be zero chance of recovery. Now there is still a small percent chance, but at least we have given her a chance. Previous to the surgery, she had absolutely no chance.”

Bedaysi modestly indicated that with a surgery of that nature, a patient is given a year; maybe more or less to fully recover.

Fully aware of the legal implications that surround accident victims, the men were careful not to speak of the surgical procedure, except to say that she will be monitored regularly.

The patient, when contacted, declined to grant SEARCHLIGHT an interview.

The men had travelled to this country sometime last month to perform the surgery, but due to missing luggage and equipment they were unable to conduct the operation.

While here on their previous visit, they assessed other patients at the MCMH who they believe could have benefited in some way from similar operations, if steps had been made soon after the diagnosis of spinal trauma.

“Whenever you have a spinal injury, you have to move fast; within a day or two to get any kind of improvement,’ Bedaysi indicated.

“Doing the surgery late may have an improvement, but your chances are not as good as if you do it within a day or two.”

“The other thing, too, is the diagnosis!” he stressed.

“If say for example there was a working CAT Scan, then all you do is the test, then link it to us (in Trinidad) and we can see whether we can do anything for the patient.”

Bowman offered that even though the patient may not be able to move around freely again, the life of the patient can be made more comfortable.

“Say for example, with a broken neck you just have to lie there until it heals. With surgery, the patient can sit up and they can log roll him.”

“Once you stabilize a patient, it is always better; the chance for the guy (if stabilization is not done) is next to none. The problem is that he needs to mobilize and with the surgery you can do that.”

This is the first time that Dr Badaysi has worked in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but Bowman has worked here before with other surgeons.

They have worked in other Caribbean territories including Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, among others.

The practitioners say that they look forward to returning to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to work again, where they said it was a pleasure to operate.

“The staff here (at the MCMH) was as good as any part of the world – the Director of the Hospital was accommodating, the theatre staff, the nurses… they were all efficient and willing to work – I give them a lot of credit.”

“Dr. Woods played a major part in the surgery and he did a lot towards getting everything done,” Bedaysi indicated.

Bowman, whose father is Vincentian, added that it was a pleasure to return home to be able ‘to give back’.