Mumbai man walks one year after botched hip surgery abroad

Apr 24, 2014, 09:11 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

City resident had met with an accident in South Africa after which doctors there used unsterilised surgical equipment, causing hip infection that left him bed-ridden

Moving to South Africa for a new job turned into a nightmare for a 30-year-old Antop Hill resident after a botched hip replacement surgery there left him bed-ridden for a year.

Antop Hill resident Devraj Mhetre is able to walk a year after doctors in South Africa botched up his hip replacement surgery
Antop Hill resident Devraj Mhetre is able to walk a year after doctors in South Africa botched up his hip replacement surgery

Devraj Mhetre had developed a severe infection in his hip after the operation, after which he decided to head back to Mumbai in May last year. A year later, Mhetre is able to walk, thanks to the doctors at KEM hospital that carried out surgeries to mend his broken hip.

“If a patient starts having symptoms of pain and stiffness a few days after the joint replacement, it is mainly caused due to an infection around the hip implant due to unsterilised surgical equipment and lack of proper hygiene in the operation theatre,” said Dr Pradeep Bhosale, head of the orthopaedic department at civic-run KEM hospital.

But it was not just the shoddy hospital arrangements in South Africa that rendered Mhetre immobile. To make matters worse, doctors at KEM found out that his implant was wrongly placed, making it impossible for him to stand or even sit in comfort.

“In April last year, I had met with a car accident after the driver lost control of the vehicle while heading to Port Elizabeth. Doctors at a private hospital in SA informed me that I had fractured my hipbone and would require a hip replacement,” said Devraj, who worked in the shipping industry.

However, after spending nearly R6 lakh for his medical treatment, he noticed pus oozing from his left leg and started experiencing stiffness, a few days after the operation.

“The doctor who had operated upon me was from Spain and since he wasn’t available after the operation, I returned to Mumbai,” he added. Since his return, Mhetre has undergone three different procedures to treat his infected hip joint and the final one was carried out in March.

The procedure
To get him back on his feet, doctors at KEM inserted a temporary ceramic mould, which was filled with antibiotics to effectively tackle the infection that had spread around the hip implant.

A temporary joint was inserted for three months to preserve movement around the hips for the patient while he was undergoing treatment.

“In such cases, the bacteria forms a pseudo membrane around the implant due to which it prevents any antibodies from entering which can easily cause resistance to antibiotics for the patients.

This is the reason why the patients take more time to respond to treatment,” said Dr Bhosale. “The best way to prevent the infection from manifesting is to sterilise all surgical equipment to avoid other organisms from entering the body,” added Dr Bhosale.

The new implant was inserted a year after the botched surgery, for which Devraj had shell out an additional Rs 1,23,000. “I’d given up hope on being able to walk again and it’s a miracle that I am able to do so again,” said Devraj. He is now recuperating in the hospital, undergoing physiotherapy sessions.

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