Fifty-nine-year-old Mohamed Omar from Zanzibar, a victim of acid attack, had lost all hope of living after developing an infection in his wounds and suffering malaria in spite of being in a local hospital in Zanzibar for over three weeks.
Mohamed, a local community leader, known as Sheha in the West African country, and a former National football player, has now flown back to his country. His wounds were healed and grafted in just two weeks at the MIOT Hospital.
Mohamed recalled that an unidentified man attacked him and splashed a bucket of concentrated nitric acid when he was walking on the night of May 22 in his hometown. The community leader said that radical conservative groups had been targeting leaders and attacking them with acid available from battery factories. “I didn’t know they poured acid on me. I tried to chase the man who attacked me. But it started to burn terribly and I ran to a police station where they poured water on me for half an hour,” said Mohamed, as his surgeon who accompanied him from Zanzibar, Dr Said Ali Said translated for City Express.
Suffering third degree burns on his scalp, neck and chest, he was admitted to the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar, where he spent three weeks on antibiotics. When his wounds got infected, he was flown to India for further treatment and was admitted in MIOT on June 21.
Dr Eapen Koshy, head of the department, Plastic and Craniofacial surgery, MIOT, said Mohamed suffered close to 25 per cent burns and that they used German made electric dermatomes to harvest specific thickness skin graft on him. “We removed the dead skin and recreated the fresh wounds. Then we took skin from his thigh and converted it into a mesh to suit the required thickness for the specific place where it had to be grafted as we wanted to avoid contraction,” the doctor explained. “Part of his left ear was damaged in the attack. We have grafted part of it. Both his hearing and eyesight are perfect,” the doctor added.
Mohamed responded well to the treatment as his wounds healed and his fever subsided in two weeks’ time. “Police investigation is still on and I am clueless about the reason behind the attack. But I am confident of getting back to my routine now. I will also be given police protection when I get back home,” the former National footballer, who has represented his country in various tournaments across Africa, said with a smile. Mohamed, who flew back to Zanzibar on Sunday, would return for a follow-up with the doctors here after six months. Doctors at MIOT said Mohamed was the second nitric acid attack patient from Zanzibar they had treated. A few months ago, Fadhil (59), a local politician, who lost his eye sight and suffered 60 percent burns due to the attack, spent about five weeks here before flying back with all wounds grafted.