Fromsa, the hyena boy, April 2012
At the beginning of April 2012 Facing Africa received and email from Dr. Einar Eriksen, who lives and works in Ethiopia, saying that on 24th of March a terrible incident happened during a wedding party in Harar, East Ethiopia. As the wedding guests moved across an open field, three hyenas attacked Fromsa, a 10 year old boy and dragged him away. The crowd managed to rescue the boy, killing one of the hyenas. Two other children were savaged by the hyenas and later died of their horrific wounds.
Forms was brought to Yekatit 12, a government hospital in Addis, with severe wounds in both of his thighs and a terrible mutilation of his right cheek. A large part of his scalp on the left side was also ripped off. Dr. Einar visited the hospital and seeing he boys condition, insisted on him being transferred to MCM Hospital for the care in their ICU. Fromsa was further cared for in the MCM: tracheostomy and gastrostomy were carried out and his wounds were getting cleaned and dressed. Dr. Einar started to close the nose flap back into position. However the challenge was the cheek with mucosa defect. As a CT scan showed, Fromosa’s jaw was crushed causing considerable bone defect. The complexity and severity of boy’s injuries were deemed by Dr. Einar to require the intervention of specialist reconstructive surgeons from Great Ormond Street and others who had experience with acute hyena bite wounds.
Chris Lawrence reacted immediately and circulated Fromsa’s images and CT scan showing his injuries to various surgeons and asked for advice and suggestions. LeRoux Fourie, an experienced reconstructive plastic surgeon from Leeds, responded with an offer to fly to Addis without delay and help Dr. Einar with reconstructive surgery. So, just 48 hours after receiving Dr. Einar’s S.O.S.letter, the support of FA reached Ethiopia and Fromsa: LeRoux Fourie joined Dr. Einar to help him operate on the boy. Later in his letter to Facing Africa Dr. Einar wrote: “Thanks for your positive and on-going encouragement regarding the treatment of Fromsa. Without your backing, I am not sure where we would whether Fromsa would have survived this savage hyena attack”
Saving Fromsa’s life is a great success for all involved, especially Dr. Einar who identified a boy who was destined to die and took him under his care, reaching for help and advice from Facing Africa just in time to save boy’s life.