An artisanal miner from Inyathi in Bubi District, Matabeleland North Province is lucky to be alive after doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital successfully removed a spear lodged in his skull.

Ishmael Tshabalala was stabbed during a fight and had to be ferried to the hospital with the spear stuck in his skull.

Dr Garikai Mwale, a specialist neurosurgeon at the hospital who was among the doctors who conducted a surgical operation to remove the spear, told the Chronicle that Tshabalala was lucky to be alive. He said:

"The patient had a penetrating skull injury coming from the front and going out to the side. It passed through the bone, and the brain and went to the other side.

The patient sustained a serious injury but fortunately, when he came to the hospital he was fully conscious.

We managed to operate on the patient. The spear also encroached onto one of the bigger veins, one of the sinuses but we managed to control the bleeding.

Severe force was used to penetrate bone in two places and he is very fortunate to be alive.

He is fortunate in that the weapon missed all the major blood vessels in the brain."

Dr Mwale expressed concern over the high number of victims of violent crime the hospital has to attend to. He said:

"Doctors who work at the weekends usually attend to many cases of individuals injured from assaults by weapons such as knobkerries or stabbing by knives. This is quite a big problem.

When Mr Tshabalala came we were supposed to attend to a patient with a brain tumor but we had to postpone the surgical operation to attend to Mr Tshabalala since his case was an emergency."

Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Dr. Narcacius Dzvanga blamed widespread drug and alcohol abuse for violent crime.

Chronicle reported sources as saying Tshabalala and his assailant were fighting over a woman.