TIBNIN, Lebanon: After fracturing her knees in a car crash in Saudi Arabia that killed two of her children, Najah Wizani had all but given up hope of ever being able to walk again.
However, thanks to a pioneering operation funded by the Health Ministry and carried out by surgeons at the Tibnin Public Hospital in south Lebanon, all of that might be about to change.
Since breaking multiple bones in both legs in the accident 13 years ago, 65-year-old Wizani hasn’t been able to walk properly or carry out her daily life unassisted, due to chronic inflammation in her bones and joints that began two years later.
As she prepared to go under the knife on March 5, Wizani prayed that God would give strength to the doctors and nurses who were inserting a 9-centimeter-long implant into her left leg. Once she has recovered from the first operation, doctors hope to insert the device into her right leg, too.
Three weeks after its insertion, the implant will continuously release antibiotics to fight infection and inflammation over nine months, after which the device will require replacement.
Dr. Bilal Obeid, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said that development of the device began in 2011, and it was finally patented for use in Germany this year.
“It’s the first operation of its kind in the world,” he said.
Previously, complications from inflammation of fractured bones often led to limbs being amputated.
According to the hospital’s communications head Dr. Mohammad Sawwali, Health Minister Jamil Jabak pledged during a recent tour to raise Tibnin Public Hospital’s financial ceiling from LL3 billion ($2 million) to LL5 billion.
The financial ceiling is the maximum amount a hospital can spend on patients each year.
The Defense Ministry ran the hospital from its foundation in the ’70s until it was handed over to the Health Ministry after Israel’s 2006 War with Hezbollah. Writing by Emily Lewis