The Doctors: Reconstructive Surgery For Landmine Survivor

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The Drs: Boy Survives Landmine Explosion

The Doctors introduced their viewers to a man from Zimbabwe whose jaw was obliterated, teeth are non-existent, and tongue is non-functioning. He lived like that for five years and his story is truly an inspirational one.

The Doctors: Reconstructive Surgery For Landmine Survivor

After losing his lower jaw and teeth in a landmine explosion, one young man underwent life-changing reconstructive surgery. (Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com)

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On June 26, 2007 in Zimbabwe, Africa, Blessing was living with his father on their farm. He and his brother found an object out in the field, but didn’t exactly understand what it was. He shared that to him, it looks harmless so he was experimenting with it. He connected it to a battery and all of the sudden it exploded. The device was a landmine detonator and it had exploded in his face.

The Drs: Life-Changing Surgery For Landmine Survivor

His lower jaw was completely blown off and he almost died. In Zimbabwe, there aren’t the necessary medical resources available to give Blessing the care he needed. Operation Hope brought him to America to give him the necessary surgeries. His jaw was basically being held together by a piano wire. The Doctors explained that they were going to take bone from his leg to rebuild his jaw where bone is missing. They would then hook it up to vessels in the neck so that it would become a live bone graft.

Dr James Chao, the plastic surgeon, explained that the leg bone is now being used as a live jaw bone, saying it is alive and being profused with blood. Dr Joel Berger, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, explained that even with his deformity, Blessing had something about him. In November of 2014, Blessing prepared for the final step of receiving his permanent teeth. After seeing the implants, he said it was the best feeling he’d had in a long time, and was brought to tears.

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The Drs: Reconstructive Surgery For Landmine Survivor

The before and after is amazing, and Blessing said one of the things he’s learned is to not lose hope. The Doctors welcomed Blessing’s entire surgical team from Sharp Health Care in San Diego, California. Dr Berger, Dr Thomas Vecchione, Dr Chao, and Dr Ben Javid all joined the show. They explained that the hardest part was getting coordinated, which they did through the virtual surgery. The cuts had to be incredibly precise, and they had to make a straight leg bone into a curved jaw bone. They also had to rebuild his lips and reconstruct the soft tissues. Once they did all that, that’s when the teeth came in.

Dr Javid explained that once there was a jaw bone, they were able to place dental implants and permanent teeth. Today, Blessing can eat whatever anyone else eats.

The Drs: Life For Landmine Survivor After Surgery

Before welcoming Blessing to join them on the show, The Doctors wanted to give a special thank you to two people in Blessing’s life: Operation Hope’s vice president Stephen Clawson and registered nurse and Blessing’s host mother, Lisa Rogien. Clawson said the moment they met Blessing they fell in love with him, so they couldn’t say no. Lisa shared that Blessing has filled in the missing piece of their family, joking that he’s her oldest son’s long-lost twin brother.

The Doctors then welcomed Blessing to the stage. Blessing said he loves to eat bacon now and said the surgeons did a great job, for which he is very thankful. Dr Rachael Ross said she heard Blessing was a huge NBA Lakers fan. She said they heard Blessing’s story, and invited him to come to their game and then meet some of the players afterward. Blessing was so excited he had a huge smile and hug for Dr Ross.

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