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Surgery mix-up: Patient in Tanzania undergoes Head Operation Instead of Knee

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Migraine sufferer Emmanuel Mgaya recovering from knee surgery

Tanzania’s Health Minister David Mwakyusa has apologised for a recent surgical mix-up where a knee patient underwent a complex head operation.

On 8 November, surgeons at the country’s main Muhimbili hospital opened the skull of Emmanuel Didas to remove a non-existent brain tumour.

While Emmanuel Mgaya, who had the tumour, underwent knee surgery.

Speaking to parliament Mr Mwakyusa said: “I would like to say sorry to the victims on behalf of the government.”

The minister also said that a preliminary report was being published by the team that was set-up to investigate why the mix-up at Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) happened.

Mr Didas who had been admitted for a knee operation after a motorbike accident is still recovering from the ordeal – he ended up unconscious in intensive care after his head was wrongly operated on.

And chronic migraine sufferer Emmanuel Mgaya is likewise, still recovering from his unplanned knee surgery.

The blunder was blamed on both patients having the same first name.

But a hospital official, Juma Mkwawa said it was the worst scandal that had happened at Muhimbili hospital and that, “sharing a first name cannot be an excuse”.

The two surgeons responsible have been suspended.


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