“I’m so happy because I thought I’d never walk again. Seeing my foot recovering and moving and my skin intact is truly a blessing,”
The UAE has once again proven that the country has one of the most advanced healthcare facilities in the world following the miraculous recovery of a Filipina who had undergone a series of operations to help her walk again.
34-year-old Filipina Ana Marisa Perez was admitted at Rashid Hospital after a car hit her while she was crossing the road with her dog. The driver of the car that hit Perez didn’t immediately notice what happened and continued to run over her body which resulted to exposed bones and muscle tissue, reports 999 Magazine.
Perez thanks the whole team behind Rashid Hospital who have all been instrumental in helping her recover from the mishap: “I’m so happy because I thought I’d never walk again. Seeing my foot recovering and moving and my skin intact is truly a blessing.”
Dr. Khalid Al Awaid, Head of the Hand and Microsurgery Unit at Rashid Hospital said that the hospital advised Perez to undergo skin grafting, one of the most advanced treatments for accident victims, along with a series of operations to help her avoid any other health complications. “Perez was admitted to Rashid Hospital’s ER with serious injuries. She lost a large area of skin from her groin to her left foot exposing her bones and muscle tissue. She also sustained a pelvic and leg fracture. After examining the case, Rashid Hospital doctors advised that an immediate grafting procedure be made to prevent any further complications,” Al Awaid told 999.
The process of skin grafting involves using skin to either serve as a temporary wound covering or as a permanent replacement for damaged or missing skin. In Perez’s case, Al Awaid said that they can’t use Perez’s own skin because her muscle tissues and bones were exposed.
Dr. Al Awaid’s team at Rashid Hospital had to resort to using cadaveric skin – which is skin processed from a deceased person to serve as a ‘scaffold’ for Perez’s exposed bones and muscle tissues: “The first step was cleaning the wound, and due to its severe state, it required numerous sessions. Because the bones were exposed, there was no base to graft the patient’s skin on, so we decided to use cadaveric skin and apply it on the exposed bones and tendon to act as a scaffold.”
“Five days later – after we made sure that the grafting procedure was successful and that the woman’s body had accepted and adapted to the new cadaveric skin – we started the second phase, which includes grafting the patient’s own skin and covering the cadaveric skin and wound,” he added.
The hospital carefully monitored Perez’s recovery and found out that her body was able to assimilate the transplanted cadaveric skin without traces of any infections and/or other health risks.
Al Awadi said the operation was a ‘complete success’ as Perez is now on the road to recovery. “She is now continuing her treatment with other departments at the hospital for the fractures she sustained and they will, hopefully, discharge her soon in good health,” said Dr Al Awadi.
Providing world-class treatment
Dr. Al Awadi said that while the process of skin grafting had been mostly used for plastic surgeries, it used to have its own limits depending on the part of the body. However, with the breakthrough findings in the field of medical science, the process of grafting has evolved with the use of artificial materials to help heal the exposed wounds.
The cadaveric skin used on Perez’s case was first processed thoroughly so that her body can accept it – but even so, the medical team had to monitor Perez’s vitals during the first few days to make sure that no further health risks will take place as it was also the first time Rashid Hospital did skin grafting with cadaveric skin.
The process of skin grafting using cadaveric skin is mostly used for burn cases, exposed bone or tendons, or if the person’s condition wouldn’t allow for a long procedure. Dr. Al Awadi shared with 999 one of his previous cases where a patient at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi five years ago sustained around 80% burns. The doctors grafted a mix of the patient’s skin with an animal’s processed skin for grafting to heal the wounds . The patient was discharged after full recovery with good aesthetic results.
Dr. Al Awadi said that while the basic procedure of skin grafting isn’t expensive, the use of the cadaveric skin would considerably increase the price of the procedure.