Dead person 'saves' Filipino's life in Dubai

Dead person 'saves' Filipino's life in Dubai
Dead person 'saves' Filipino's life in Dubai

"I fell but the driver did not notice what happened and continued to run over my body."

Rashid Hospital doctors performed a highly complicated skin grafting procedure from a cadaver to save the life of a Filipino expat who was left with exposed bones and muscle tissue after being run over by a car.

When 34-year-old Ana Marisa Perez went to walk her dog on a Thursday morning, she would have never imagined that moments later she would be fighting for her life.

"It was May 10 and as I was crossing the road with my dog when I was hit by the car. I fell but the driver did not notice what happened and continued to run over my body. It was by the grace of god that another driver saw what was happening and told him to stop or I wouldn't be here with you," said Perez.

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 tissues. She also sustained a pelvic and leg fracture.

After examining the case, Rashid Hospital doctors found that an immediate grafting procedure was necessary to prevent any further complications.

Skin grafting is a surgical procedure that involves removing skin from one area of the body and moving it, or transplanting it, to a different area of the body.

However, Dr Khalid Al Awadi, Head of the Hand and Microsurgery Unit at Rashid Hospital explained that in Perez's case, using her own skin for grafting was not possible immediately because her bones and muscle tissues were exposed.

Instead, skin from a human corpse also known as cadaveric skin-which is skin removed from deceased person then processed and distributed by skin and tissue banks-was used.

"The first step we conducted 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 cadaver skin and apply it on the exposed bones and tendon to act as a scaffold."

Dr Al Awadi explained that in this case using the patient's own skin was not possible because it will not stick and heal on the exposed bones, which is why using the cadaver skin, which acted as scaffolding was the ideal treatment.

"After five days and after we made sure that the grafting procedure was successful and that the women's body has accepted and adapted to the new cadaver skin, we started the second phase, which includes grafting the patient's own skin and covering the cadaver skin and wound," he added.

Dr Al Awadi explained that conducting this procedure was necessary to prevent the internal tissues from being exposed to air that contains microbes, moisture and pollutions. All these factors will prevent the wound from healing and makes it more prone to infection, he added.

Following the completion of both procedures in a couple of days, the doctors conducted tests and found that there were no infections meaning the body has accepted and adapted to the transplanted skin.

"The procedure was a complete success and she has completely recovered from the grafting surgery. She is now continuing her treatment with other departments at the hospital for the fractures she sustained and will hopefully discharge her soon in good health," said Dr Al Awadi.

Commenting on the procedure from her hospital bed, Perez said she was pleased with the healthcare she received. "I am so happy because I thought before that I will never walk again, seeing my foot recovering and moving and my skin intact is truly a blessing," she said.

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