Media Release – Surgery success for Bangladeshi gunshot victim

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Orthopaedic surgeon Mr John Griffiths and Cabrini Hospital recently came to the aid of a fourteen year old Bangladeshi boy who was shot during a mutinous uprising in his country.

Akhtar Hossain lost the use of his right arm when he was hit in the shoulder and chest by stray bullets the uprising in Dhaka: 54 army officers and a number of civilians were killed in fighting in February 2009. Akhtar will return home this week with the use of his arm restored after Mr Griffiths operated on his damaged shoulder.

Akhtar was initially treated in Dhaka Hospital but doctors told him that if he was to regain movement in his arm he needed more sophisticated treatment than was available in Dhaka. Akhter was the sole breadwinner for his family after his fisherman father was disabled in an accident ten years ago. He was selling tea outside the Bangladeshi Rifles Headquarters when the mutiny took place. Without the use of his arm Akhtar was unable to work and he was forced to rely on the mercy of well-wishers for food.

Melbourne businessman and humanitarian, Bangladeshi born Atom Rahman contacted Akhtar’s father after reading the story in the Dhaka media where it was widely publicised. With the approval of Akhtar’s grateful father, Mr Rahman approached Australian charity Children First Foundation who in turn enlisted the support of Mr Griffiths and Cabrini. Mr Rahman negotiated Akhtar’s transfer to Australia in June 2010 after Mr Griffiths reviewed his medical file.

Akhtar’s injury to the right shoulder was the result of a high velocity gunshot wound. Mr Griffiths reconstructed the right shoulder with internal fixation and bone grafting. “There was a shattered upper end of humerus with significant damage to local nerves and muscles around the right shoulder,” said Mr Griffiths. “The humerus bone had not united resulting in a flail right arm with poor function.

Mr Griffiths is pleased with Akhtar’s recovery. “The bone has healed well, the right shoulder has very good function with no pain and the muscle strength is steadily improving,” he said.


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