Pedro Antonio injured his leg in Mozambique last year but African doctors could not cure it
In the male ward of AO Clinic, Nazimabad, 41-year-old Pedro Antonio lies on bed number 36, talking to another patient, Hussain, whom he has become friends with over this week.
Antonio had an accident in Mozambique in January last year. He sustained trauma in his right leg, for which he visited various doctors and countries in the continent. After three failed operations, doctors told him that his leg has to be amputated. Luckily, Antonia came to Karachi where he was able to get his leg treated without amputation.
In his hometown, Antonio worked as a driver and used to supply oil and petrol at fuel stations. “I was standing outside my delivery van one day when a motorcycle hit me,” he tells The Express Tribune.
Antonio says that he first used medicines and ointments made from herbs but, later, when the pain and wounds became worse, he started visiting doctors. “At first, the doctors in my home country tried to treat me with medicines,” he says. “But later my family doctor advised me to get operated.” Antonio had his first operation in April last year. “The pain only became worse with the poison spreading in my body,” he says. “I was getting so nervous. My family doctor referred me to a South African doctor.”
He then visited South Africa in September last year, where he had two operations. However, the doctor wasn’t very hopeful. Antonio started coming to terms with the idea of living in pain with just one leg and began planning to get an artificial leg implant. After all, he needed his legs so that he could drive his van and support his family.
In August this year, Antonio left his home to deliver petrol and oil and, at one station, the pain in his leg worsened so much that he had to take rest in the workers’ room. There, he met Junaid, a young boy from Karachi who worked at the station. “Junaid inquired about my health and I told him everything,” says Antonio. “He looked like an angel to me.”
“After listening to me about my injuries, Junaid told me about this clinic and Dr Imran Ali Shah,” says Antonio. “I was in so much pain that I thought I should try this clinic, too.”
According to Antonio, Junaid called his Karachi-based friend, Zeeshan, and asked him if he can take Antonio’s reports to AO Clinic. Zeeshan agreed to do that. After checking all his reports, Dr Shah asked him to call Antonio to Pakistan. Soon, the man in suffering came to Karachi for treatment. Antonio says that he feels much better after treatment here.
Antonio had osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bones, says Dr Shah. “The problem was that a dead tissue was there inside his bone and we carried out a surgery to remove it, which went successfully,” Shah tells The Express Tribune. According to him, when such dead tissue is present, no antibiotic will affect the patient, which is another reason why such cases are critical.
Shah is of the view that Pakistan has experienced doctors and his clinic is just one of them. “When he will go back, he will tell everyone that I got a better treatment in Pakistan,” he says. “Patients like Pedro are ambassadors.”
Stay in Pakistan
Antonio says he will miss Zeeshan, his Pakistani attendant, and his hospital friend, Hussain. “I am only having problems with the food but I love Pakistani rice,” he says. “I like biryaii [biryani] very much but it’s very spicy.”
Until he leaves for Mozambique later this week, Antonio spends his days telling his Pakistani friends about life in Africa. He is in touch with his family via WhatsApp. “I miss my wife and kids but I will join them soon,” he says with a bright smile. “They will be so happy to see me with my leg.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.