About 36 children between ages one week to 16 years have undergone various amputation surgeries at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) resulting from road and domestic accidents from 2015 to 2018.

Dr Noel Tolgou Yempabe, Consultant Orthopaedic and head of the Trauma Unit at the TTH in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the challenges confronting the Trauma and Orthopaedic Department in Tamale said most of the amputations resulted from delays at traditional bonesetters centres, road traffic accidents, injuries from falling objects, Personal and Interpersonal violence, self-injury and assault.

Dr Yempabe said in Ghana bonesetters play important roles in managing fractures by using traditional unscientific methods, and indicated that their activities mostly led to severe complications resulting in the amputations and other health risks, especially among children.

He said most patients with fractured injuries first point of call usually are non-hospital services, and arrived at the hospital with complications like gangrene, massive swelling associated with pain which could cause amputations.

Dr Yempabe said these complications contribute significantly in prolonging hospital stays, increasing financial and psychological burden on caregivers.

He indicated that Amputations in children were uncommon and often done in emergency situations as lifesaving procedures or as planned cases resulting from congenital limb deficiencies.

“Whatever the case may be, losing a limb is a difficult and emotional situation for the patient, family, and the health professionals who were directly involved in the care of the patient”.

“Even though the trauma-related amputations are often done in a haste to save the child’s life, the orthopedic surgeon must pay critical attention to the basic principles of creating a prosthetic friendly stump like adjustment of the limb which is also costly”. Dr Yempabe added.

He indicated that after successfully undergoing amputations, amputee children face numerous physical and psychosocial challenges with possible denting implications on future functionality and ambitions.

He said rehabilitation and obtaining the right prosthesis are extremely important in providing some psychological and physical support, adding that there should be Limb prosthesis that provide physical support for children to enable them participate in some activities of daily living.

Dr Yempabe said the important aspect of the cost involved in treating trauma-related amputations is associated with the length of hospital stay, and indicated that there is the need for revising surgeries, the management of infections, and rehabilitations, because they could warrant longer hospital stays. “Based on our findings, the maximum and minimum days spent in the hospital were 82 and 2 days respectively”.

He said major referral hospitals and trauma management centers must be well equipped to provide these services at affordable cost and advised parents and care givers to be cautious and always make sure the children are safe in the environment they play.

He advised members of the public to ensure that trauma cases are taken to the hospital as first point of call for proper medical care to save the victims from amputation.

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