Orthopedic surgeon warns Nigerians on dangers of patronising Traditional bone setters


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A Professor of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery ‎, Babatunde Solagberu, says patients who patronise Traditional Bone Setters (TBS) are at risk of bone infections, tetanus and other fracture complications.

Solagberu spoke on Wednesday, at the 53rd Inaugural Lecture of the Lagos State University (LASU) entitled: “Of ‎Broken Bones and Broken Dreams; a Bone Carpenter to the Rescue”.

He said it had become worrisome that the TBS now use canvassers stationed at orthodox hospitals, who devised derogatory names for some hospitals, such as “centres of amputation.”

According to him, neither the ‎TBS nor orthopedics heal fractures, which heal on their own.

He said that only a trained orthopedic surgeon who had knowledge of anatomy, was in a good position to treat bone fractures.

Solagberu, also the Provost, LASU College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Ikeja, said that most of the patients who visited the TBS were usually persuaded by others, ‎rather than their self-inclination.

The provost said that after spending ‎time and money with the TBS, 66.7 per cent of the patients voluntarily discharge themselves and re-present their cases at the hospital, while 47.8 per cent visit another TBS after discharge from one.

“Despite everything, more people patronise orthodox hospitals than the TBS and the great faith of the people in the TBS is met with great disappointment as 66 per cent discharge from their facilities,” he said.

Solagberu said that the gangrene coming from the ‎TBS could lead to amputation at the orthodox hospitals.

He said some fractures were beyond redemption and amputation was the appropriate treatment, followed by use of Prosthesis.

The surgeon decried the actions of some orthodox doctors who ‎were not trained orthopedic surgeons, but general practitioners or non-orthopedic surgeon, and yet dabbled into fracture treatment.

‎According to him, bad practice from such orthodox doctors may be encouraging the tales of woe from the TBS.

Solagberu said that broken bones ‎could actually lead to broken dreams, as it might lead to loss of a body part, among others.

“If the patient is unable to return to his or her pre-injury status, dreams could break, but the only rescue is an orthodox surgeon who could be referred to as the bone carpenter,” he said.

The surgeon said the only thing in healthcare that was cheaper than cure was prevention, adding that the only way to care for the greater majority was to look at the public healthcare approach to a disease.

He said, ”dreams die on the Nigerian roads, and Trauma Surgery should include a new branch that can be referred to as Public Health Surgery.
“Our road travels include using articulated vehicles that lump humans, animals and farm produce together in open lorries or truck.

“Twenty per cent of spinal cord injuries are from avoidable means of transport.”
Solagberu charged the government to prevail on such transporters and ban them from plying the roads to save lives.

He also urged the Federal and State Governments to facilitate massive funding of the healthcare system to save more lives.

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