Dr. Edwin Mogere: One Of Kenya’s Only Two Vascular Neurosurgeons On Taking 15 Years To Be Given Permission To Open Heads

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Dr. Edwin Mogere: One Of Kenya's Only Two Vascular Neurosurgeons On Taking 15 Years To Be Given Permission To Open Heads
Dr. Edwin Mogere Photocredit/The Aga Khan University

By Prudence Minayo

Dr. Edwin Mogere is a neurosurgeon specializing in neurovascular surgery. He is one of the only two vascular surgeons in the country. There are various types of neurosurgeons including paediatric neurosurgeon, spinal neurosurgeon, neuro-oncology and endoscopic cranial surgery. Vascular neurosurgeons use high quality tools to treat damaged or malformed blood vessels which can lead to mild to severe disruption of the central nervous system, brain and spine. They deal in a number of health problems such as varicose veins to life threatening aneurysms. 

Growing up, Dr. Mogere had many aspirations. He played rugby in high school, university and even played for a few clubs after graduating. 

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Here is his story as told by WoK

Education

Dr. Mogere graduated from the University of Nairobi School of Medicine in 2003. At the time, there were no opportunities to train as a neurosurgeon in the country. Fortunately, he secured a fellowship at the College of East Africa. Afterwards, the UoN started offering the master’s degree program.

For four years after beginning practice, he worked as a general surgeon. Afterwards, he received a scholarship from the University of Cape Town in South Africa where he trained as a neurosurgeon, specializing in neurovascular surgery. 

Being a Neurosurgeon 

It took a decade and a half for Dr. Edwin Mogere to be allowed to begin operating heads. He treats strokes, brain tumors, and surgeries of the skull. These surgeries are considered difficult and sensitive. 

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“It took 15 years of my life to be exact, to be given the permission to begin opening heads,” he told the Standard. 

Dr. Mogere says being a doctor means one gets to meet patients on their worst or one of their worst days. A normal day in his life involves guiding patients on vital decisions, guiding them through information about their condition, and then having them entrust their lives to the surgeon. The worst part comes when a patient dies and he has to deliver the news to the family. According to him, neurosurgeons are guided by the principle:

“If you can’t fix things, at least don’t make them worse by inflicting financial difficulties on a family. “

Another challenge is when a patient is brain dead. This means that the patient is unlikely to ever regain consciousness and they can only breathe through machines. They are considered legally dead and the surgeon has to convince the family to stop spending on someone who is brain dead. At times, the family finds it difficult to accept and even insist on another surgery.

“We try as much as we can, by slowly and at each step unplugging some of the machines then the family can see that their kin cannot survive without the machines because, after a brainstem death, the heart will soon follow,” he told The Standard. 

To determine whether someone is brain dead, a doctor shines a torch in both eyes to see reaction to light and the sensitive eye is usually stroked with a tissue or a piece of cotton wool for more reaction. Ice cold water is also put in the ears which would cause eyes to move. 

At times, he goes for 72 hours to 100 hours without sleep. At times, when he sits down to eat, he receives a call that there is a red case. 

The neurosurgeon says this profession is competitive and complex but very rewarding when patients get better. 

Personal Life. 

Dr. Edwin Mogere is married with two sons. In between his busy schedule, he finds time to relax and enjoy with the family through outdoor camping, road trips, fitness and going to the Coast. 

His late father was a great source of inspiration in his life. He taught him excellence from a young age.

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