History made at GPHC as surgery done on hemophilia patient

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Looknauth Mohammed, 42, who has lived with a blood disorder known as hemophilia since birth, was recently benefitted from a successful hernia repair surgery and can now get other life-enhancing surgeries.

This surgery was made possible after something known as “Factor Eight” was donated to local medical professionals by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH).

But what is this Factor Eight? Answering that requires a bit of context.

When you get a cut, there is something in your blood that causes the blood to clot and reduce the amount of blood that you lose. The component that helps with this blood clotting is the Factor Eight.

In some rare instances, there are people who may be born without this Factor Eight. As such, they would bleed for a much longer time if they are injured. This leads to the development of a disorder known as hemophilia.

Hemophilia, as explained by local hematologist, Dr. Kamela Bemaul- Sukhu, is a  blood disorder where one of the factors responsible for clotting the blood is missing. And according to her, this disorder may result in lifelong discomfort and risks.

Local hematologist, Dr. Kamela Bemaul- Sukhu (Photo: News Room/ July 29, 2021)

Mohammed is one patient who has experienced pain and discomfort. He has had black and blue marks on his skin, which are bruises that occur when an injury causes blood to collect and pool under the skin. He also has joint deformations which prevents him from bending his knees.

The WFH states that people with hemophilia do not bleed any faster than normal, but they can bleed for a longer time. It was further stated that people with severe hemophilia usually bleed frequently into their muscles or joints and may do so one to two times per week.

And, Mohammed said that indeed, he has been in and out of the hospital frequently ever since he was born.

“I had to get a lot of (blood) transfusions and so,” he said.

Looknauth Mohammed (Photo: News Room/ July 29, 2021)

More recently, Mohammed developed a hernia. This occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. This results in a lump being formed. A hernia repair surgery is done to push the hernia back into place, tie it off or remove it.

Because he had the blood disorder, surgeons would have been hesitant to operate on Mohammed, for fear that he would bleed out.

“In the past, people with a bleeding disorder or any other bleeding disorder, surgical people would not want to touch these patients because they are afraid of what the complications might be.

“Patients might bleed out and there’s nothing that you can do,” Dr. Bemaul- Sukhu said.

But doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation managed to secure some of that Factor Eight component and as such, were able to do a hernia repair on the man with less fear that he would bleed out. And he didn’t bleed out nor did he need any blood transfusions during surgery.

“This is the first time ever in Guyana’s history that a procedure like this was done,” Dr. Bemaul- Sukhu said.

And, Mohammed said that he believes he can live a much more normal life now that he has received this Factor Eight and he knows that it can help him. Dr. Bemaul- Sukhu, too, believes that the man can live a better life and can even benefit from other medical procedures to improve his quality of life.

Importantly, too, she hopes that this treatment can be extended to other hemophilia patients who face similar challenges. These include children who cannot play outside because they may be at-risk of developing a bleed, or teenagers who cannot engage in contact sports for the same reasons.

In adulthood, the hematologist said that hemophilia patients may have to take many leaves of absence from their place of employment, thereby putting their job security at-risk.

Meanwhile, the Head of the General Surgery Department at the hospital, Dr Navindranauth Rambaran said that these new, ambitious surgeries are made possible by an emerging culture of multidisciplinary collaboration.

That is, doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals all come together and try to provide the best care for patients.

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