Man survives 14 hours and 160 km with axe stuck in his skull, discharged after successful surgery

Sipho Ndebele(31) from Zenka Area is a lucky man after he recovered from a horrific axe injury despite travelling more than 160km on with the axe struck in his head.  Part of the journey was in a scotchcart on bumpy roads.   Ndebele was struck on the head by Adam Ncube (20) on Monday around 10 AM after an argument.

Villagers then transported Ndebele, who they assumed was already dead to a local clinic using a scotch cart. The staff at the clinic took him to Nkayi District Hospital with the axe still stuck in his skull. However, the hospital said it did not have the capacity to remove the axe and referred him to Mpilo Central Hospital which is 150 kilometres away.


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Surgeons at Mpilo removed the axe 14 hours later. After the operation, Mr Ndebele was briefly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was discharged yesterday (Wednesday).

Said Ndebele afterwards:

The doctors said the operation was so delicate that any slight mistake could have killed me. They said if the axe had moved a fraction of a millimetre deeper, or to the left or right I could have died.

I can’t really remember much as I drifted in and out of consciousness most of the time. What I remember is the excruciating pain

It is a miracle to have an axe stuck deep into your skull for more than half a day and still survive. Also considering the state of the Nkayi- Bulawayo Road, it was tough and painful to have someone hold the axe in position so that it does not cause further damage

More: Chronicle

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