Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) surgeon Amos Nyaka swiftly turned to ‘plan B’ when a power outage plunged an eye theatre into darkness in the middle of a delicate operation he was performing on a patient in Lilongwe on Thursday.
The surgeon quickly asked a trainee clinical officer to use his cell phone’s in-built flashlight, enabling him and his team to continue with the operation.
The development was photographed by another member of the surgical team who later shared the photograph with the surgeon after the surgery.
Many people were both stunned and impressed after seeing the photograph and a caption story on Nyaka’s WhatsApp status.
When traced to his KCH Eye Department on Friday, the surgeon said: “The blackout came after we had already started operating on the patient’s eye, who had a condition known as glaucoma—an irreversible cause of blindness. The procedure was to minimise the progression of eye damage.
“We had to act fast because, otherwise, the patient could lose his vision.”
The soft-spoken surgeon said he should not take any praise alone.
“On a daily basis, many other theatre personnel use creative ways in overcoming technical challenges to save patients, particularlyin critical departments like the ICU [intensive care unit], HDU [high dependency unit] and the paediatric sections,” he added.
He said the eye department used to have its own generator but it developed faults and has not been in use for a while.
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said Nyaka exemplifies the professionalism and passion medical cadres have to save people’s lives despite challenges in their work.
The eye department is one of the busiest sections at KCH, with some 200 patients attended to daily. On average, surgeries constitute about 10 percent of the cases. n