March 27, 2013, by Lindsay Brooke

Operation gorilla – decision time for surgeons

Tonight, in the last of three films by ITV Central News reporter Victoria Davies, it is decision time for vet school surgeon Dr Sandra Corr.

Sandra travelled to Africa last month with a team from Twycross Zoo to operate on Shufai a young gorilla who suffered gunshot wounds to his wrist when poachers killed his mother. After being rescued he has been cared for by Ape Action Africa in the Cameroon.

The team knew the operation was going to be a challenge and before they left Nottingham they consulted the Trauma and Orthopaedics team at the Queen’s Medical Centre. Daren Forward, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, and his colleague James Hunter, discussed the possibility of realigning the bones, a fusion operation and amputation. They even drew out possible plans for plates and screws.

Victoria’s first two reports can be watched here:

The operating theatre at the sanctuary was an adapted school classroom with plastic sheeting for walls. All the surgical equipment had to be sterlised in the UK and taken over in sealed bags to prevent contamination. Stifling temperatures and high humidity made the working environment difficult and the risk of infection during the three hour operation was a major concern.

You can see the outcome on ITV Central News tonight between 6pm and 6.30pm.

Picture of the operating theatre taken by Dr Sandra Corr.




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