January 24, 2012

Flying Feather: The Famous Tawau’s Street Weapon

 In the late 1940, Yutaka Katayama together with Ryuichi Romiya built flying feather. It is a car with good performance and economical value, yet a very light weight car that moves like a gull in flight. This can be also applied to another ‘flying feather’ which locally known as ‘pitik’ or ‘plem paddle’.This simple weapon is very light and sometimes just fly on the air and hit the victim without being realized until the adrenaline start to rush as the pain being perceived by the mind. 

A young man who was accidentally shot by the arrow by unknown attacker while going out from his house.

Out of nowhere, the arrow just hit his foot. the only thing he felt was intense pain and he barely can walk.

 The exact origin of this weapon is not known but with highest possibility that it is originate from Philippines. This small weapon is used in a gang fight where the purpose of this weapon is to injured the victim. Not adequate to kill the victim, but enough to bring them down so that everybody can go and beat them up with other methods. To make it more disastrous, they may put some poison at the end tip of the weapon.

A typical flying feather composed of nail with it's  tip is sharpened and indented at the distal end. the other end is attached with plastic rope

Another version of flying feather without the tail.
However, most often the shot are made by a mischievous sick-minded youngster who just enjoy doing it for fun especially when there are festivities or crowds. Therefore, many patient will presented with history of walking in specific area at the town of Tawau or simply come out from their home when they get shot. The extent of injury therefore very limited and penetrate the soft tissue. However, if the attacker intended to hurt the victim by delivering a sharp and hard blow, it can even penetrate the deeper structure injuring the vessel, nerve, penetrating the abdomen or accidentally hit the eyes. The side effect of the weapon includes dirt bring by the rusted nails or used plastic rope taken from the dump side which carry hundred of bacteria hidden from the naked eye.

Another random victim of the flying feather
The weapon just fly in the air and hit the victims

 This weapon is made by using simple instrument that can be found easily anywhere in the street including nail, plastic rope and rubber band. The sharp end of the nail is made flat by using a hammer first before sharpened it's tip and the distal end of it being indented  to make this weapon more difficult to be taken out as the flesh will stuck in between the curvature. Then the end of the nail will be attached to the plastic rope by using a rubber band serving to increase the velocity of the weapon as it is being shot later. The plastic rope also very helpful if the attacker just blindly shot the arrow into the air and it will randomly guide the arrow to hit the target. Some attacker will not use the plastic rope if the weapon is intended to be fire at a short distance and the arrow will straightly penetrate the victim’s body.

The sharpened and indented tip of the nail which made it easily penetrate the soft tissue and make the removal challenging.
Managing the flying feather injury may look simple but not to be taken lightly. Starting with Anti tetanus toxoid jab, health care personnel should access the extend of the injury at the bedside. Routine blood investigation should be taken as patient might be needing of surgery. The coagulation profile may give a clue as rat poison use by the attacker may impair the coagulation cascade and the total white blood cell count will raise due to infection. Simple plain X- Ray will help to evaluate further the extend of the injury and rarely other modality are needed.

Deep injury with entry and exit points

If this young man is unlucky, the weapon could just penetrate his abdomen.
Irrigation with copious of normal saline will help to dilute the bacterial load and reduce the infection and inflammatory agents. Proper debridement in the OT may then be needed and the wound should be left open first with daily wound dressing before it is ready for secondary suturing. Intravenous antibiotic covering for gram positive, negative and anaerobe is the next of priority together with pain management

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