A man who had an axe buried inside his head during a fierce altercation has cheated death after surgeons worked to save his life.
Mr Sipho Ndebele, a 31-year-old Zimbabwean man from the Nkayi district, who had an axe stuck in his skull, endured more than 160km of bumpy roads to hospital where it was removed 14 hours later.
According to The Chronicle, the man who was lucky to survive, had the axe delicately hanging just millimetres from his brain matter and other vital blood veins. The doctors said it was a miracle that he survived.
Mr Sipho Ndebele was reportedly axed by a fellow herdsman Adam Ncube (20) on Monday around 10AM. Mr Ndebele had allegedly begged Ncube to look after his cattle and Ncube refused.
An altercation ensued leading to Ncube attacking Mr Ndebele with the axe which he left stuck in his head.
Ncube then fled from the scene leaving an unconscious Mr Ndebele lying in a a pool of blood.
Villagers who thought Mr Ndebele was already dead however took him to Zenka Clinic in a scotch cart and to their surprise nurses said he was still alive.
“The nurses said they could not attempt to remove the axe because doing so was very risky. They instead rushed him to Nkayi District Hospital with the axe still stuck into his skull,” said Mrs Lwazi Moyo.
Staff at Nkayi District Hospital also said they did not have the capacity to remove the axe and referred him to Mpilo Central Hospital which is 150 kilometres away.
The doctors at Mpilo removed the axe 14 hours later following an operation. After the operation, Mr Ndebele was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was discharged yesterday.
In an interview, Mr Ndebele said doctors told him it was a miracle the axe missed vital blood vessels which could have led to bleeding into the brain which is fatal.
“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,” said Mr Ndebele.
He said doctors told him that the axe went through the bone and rested on the brain matter.
“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,” said Mr Ndebele who was able to sit up.
He said a friend took his pictures while he was unconscious with the axe still stuck in his head.
The pictures, including one of an X-Ray of the axe embedded in his head, have since gone viral.
Speaking between gasps, Mr Ndebele added: “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”.
He said he was grateful to Mpilo Central Hospital staff for believing he could be saved when most people had lost hope.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said patient-doctor confidentiality prevented him from commenting in detail.
“I can only say I am happy he made it. He is unbelievably lucky. Members of the public should not attack each other with weapons as it leads to unnecessary loss of life,” said Dr Ngwenya.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Eglon Nkala said Ncube had been arrested and was assisting police with investigations.
“Police arrested Ncube on the same day he attacked Mr Ndebele following a manhunt,” he said.