BANGALORE: When 70-year-old priest Simon Basedeke was attacked by dacoits late one night, little did he know that refusal to give up his money would leave him with a shattered jaw and disfigured face.
The Congo resident on Thursday sat down with city doctors who, through a challenging high-precision surgery, had helped him back to normalcy. Accompanied by his son and son-in-law, Simon met reporters in the city on Thursday.
On that fateful night, Basedeke had asked his attackers to take his Bible. Instead, they had shot him. “We realised that the medical facilities in Congo would not be sufficient and a reconstruction surgery was not possible there. The other options were India and London. As the cost factor worked well with us, we came here,” said Ciza, Basekede’s son-in-law.
A month after the shooting, Basekede came to Fortis Hospital in the city. Doctors then performed an operation that involved aligning the joints of his mouth and grafting a piece of bone from the hip to reconstruct the lower jaw.
Dr Sunil Vasudev, consultant maxillofacial surgeon, Fortis Hospitals, said, “When he came to us, he had developed an infection because of pieces of bone and metal still stuck inside the jaw. He could not chew food. In his native place, they had given him first aid and sutured the lower part of the face to control the bleeding and the wounds were healing. His tongue had become sutured to the floor of his mouth, so he could not talk.”
Basekede’s age and medical history was an added challenge; he was a diabetic, hypertensive and had a history of kidney problems, said Dr Sunil.