Sharlene Coopoosammy

(with thanks to Jacaranda FM)

On Friday, 16 April 2021, OHH patient Sharlene Coopoosammy underwent bilateral soft tissue release and tenotomies for equinus deformity with botox infiltration surgery at Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital.

This was the first step in helping Sharlene get her life back after a horrific bus accident caused her severe injuries.

The accident happened in the Pretoria CBD in October 2019 as Sharlene was on her way to work at a sweet shop in the city. After the accident, she clung to life and, after five months of care in the State Hospital, went home. The wound care at the state hospital was excellent, with skin grafts that healed well. However, her pelvis – broken in three places – and her dislocated hip were never mended, and as a result, she cannot bend her hip.

Her feet have also been impacted, which makes it impossible for her to walk. As a result, Sharlene has been bedridden since the accident – unable to support herself and her pensioner mom, Sylvia Naidoo. The State Hospital has advised that it would be years before she would get the necessary surgery, and pain management is all they can assist her with.

Sharlene’s biggest wish is to be able to work and earn a living again. Her job at the sweet shop is still available to her, as soon as she’s mobile again. “I moved in with my mom to take care of her. But, for the past two years, she’s been taking care of me like a baby. I can only use my arms, and my mom has to do everything else for me. Our neighbour and friends have been amazing, and they assist where and how they can, but I want to be able to live and take care of my mom myself.”

Without medical aid or the means to pay for private care, Sharlene would not be able to walk again. This is where Operation Healing Hands came in.

After being contacted by Jacaranda FM’s Good Morning Angels, the team at OHH jumped at the opportunity to help Sharlene through multiple surgeries. Accident Angels came on board with funding, and just like that, Sharlene is on her way back to normalcy.

On 23 September, Sharlene received her second extensive surgery. A total hip replacement was performed at Eugene Marais Hospital. This surgery was extremely challenging since the underlying femoral head and socket ankylosed (the two bones united). The surgeon had to reconstruct a new acetabulum (socket) for the hip replacement. A highlight was when Sharlene started walking the very next day. The steps were admittedly very small, but the first she took in over two years.