Kenyan national returns home after a ‘facelift’ in India

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KOCHI: Nearly seven months after Kiarie Michael Chege was shot in the face in Kenya, the African national is eagerly waiting to go home to celebrate Christmas with his wife and two-year-old daughter after undergoing treatment in a city hospital. Chege was attacked by dacoits in Kenyain May 2013 along with Keralite Renjith T Nelluvelli, CEO of the LOTS Shipping Company. While Renjith died in the attack, Chege was seriously injured after a bullet entered his upper neck and went through his mouth, shattering his palate and cheek bone, and came out through his left eye.

In June 2013, the company brought Chege to Kochi for specialized treatment and admitted him to Lourdes Hospital for maxillofacial and plastic surgeries. Chege was earlier admitted to a hospital in Kenya with limited facilities.

“He had a gaping hole instead of an eye. The shattered bones of his face healed in abnormal positions, preventing him from closing his mouth or speaking clearly,” said Dr Chacko Cyriac, the plastic surgeon who treated him. “Though his speech was a bit slurred, his memory was sound,” he added.

After five surgeries by a team led by maxillofacial surgeon Dr Ram Mohan and plastic surgeon Dr Chacko Cyriac, what was left of his facial skeleton was pieced together. After the frame was ready, the team reconstructed the lost bones of the face, cheek, eye socket and eyelid. They also closed the gaping hole in the cheek.

“Bone, skin, cartilage and even septum from the nose were taken from his body and used to repair his face. Once he had a near normal facial form, an artificial eye shell was placed in place of his eye,” said Dr Ram Mohan.

The prosthetic eye was brought from Chennai and reshaped in the hospital to fit Chege’s eye socket. “I will have to get used to removing the artificial eye and cleaning it from time to time,” Chege said, eager to go back to work with LOTS Shipping Company, which has offered his job back in Kenya. He will fly to Kenya on Tuesday morning. –timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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