Author Topic: Deplorable healthcare in Nigeria costing lives. An email from a grieving brother  (Read 4441 times)

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Offline usman11

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I saw this email posted in Nigeriaworld forum, and since I can relate to it from personal experience, I decided to post it here as something to reflect on.


ADIEU, BEAUTIFUL SISTER - YET ANOTHER VICTIM OF A FAILED STATE IN THE KILLING FIELDS OF NIGERIA !
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My trip to Nigeria late January/February 2009 was yet another of multiple trips that I had been making in the hope of being one of the exiled Nigerians returning to make a difference. Unfortunately my "what I hope will be my last time ever" was the worst nightmare of my life. I graduated from a medical school in Nigeria, did my initial postgraduate training in England and now practice as a family physician in the United States. I had nursed the idea of opening a state of the art medical center in my city, in Nigeria but those hopes died with my sister Itunu Olubunmi.

I arrived in Nigeria on the 30th of January to be greeted by a deteriorating airport with no usable lavatory facility. I proceeded do my usual running around, transact some business, visit family and friends but unfortunately decided I was going to see my baby sister at her doctors office at Onikan, Lagos. Little did I know I was never going to get a chance to see her ever again. She had decided to have her surgery done by "a renowned Obstetrician/ Gynecologist" , who is supposed to be "top of the Line" for the surgery. She had taken her official "leave" from work hoping to return in a few weeks; hardly did we know that she was not going to be with us in less than a week. The facility she chose we assumed was going to be fully equipped as they had charged her an exorbitant sum for the surgery equivalent to what is being charged in the United States of America (excluding hospital stay). Like the proverb goes "all that glitters is not
gold".

I was planning on visiting Itunu post-operatively, but got a phone call from one of my auntie's asking me to hurry up, as there was a complication post operatively. I arrived at the hospital and was ushered into the operating room by the surgeon. Nothing could have prepared me for how primitive the operating room (OR) set up was. I could not believe that a renowned surgeon could operate on human beings in such an environment. The space in the operating room was not only cramped, it was the obsoleteness of the equipments that hit me like a missile. The OR had little or no monitoring device, they had no automated monitor for the blood pressure, and no oxygen monitoring device. There was no monitor on till I asked for a pulse oximeter which the anesthesiology then produced and turned on. I was unfortunate or fortunate enough to know too much, the anesthetic machine was so obsolete I doubt it can deliver any of the anesthetic gases adequately and yet there was no machine to check the mixture of the gases that were being delivered to the patient. They had no capnograph (to monitor the level of carbon dioxide) or an apnea alarm (a device that tells you if the patient is accidentally disconnected from the machine). Not only did they not have the basic monitoring equipments this hospital used the cheapest medication that was available but charged the most money that they could. They also did not have reversal medications.

I requested for naloxone one of the necessary medications for reversal of medications and was told the hospital does not have this medication. The physicians in Nigeria obviously do not think much of the Hippocratic Oath. I knew at this point I was in trouble, the hospital only had 3 cylinders of oxygen, which were running out as we continued to try and resuscitate my sister, there was no machine to ventilate her, she was being ventilated manually with a bag. I requested for her to be transferred to another hospital and was told there was no driver for the ambulance parked I front of the hospital. It took another hour before the driver showed up, "he had gone to drop someone".

We finally got a driver and needed to transfer her but the so-called hospital had no equipment to oxygenate her during the transfer. We had to improvise and made it through the traffic to another Hospital where they initially refused to accept her except we "deposit 1million Naira". They accepted the transfer only because they were told she has a sister in USA. The second day she was on the ICU, when the hospital generator broke down for almost 15 minutes. Whatever hope we had of her recovering was dashed at this point by the power outage. The physician had earlier informed of minimal progress the day before the power outage, but after that the news was bad. Unfortunately my sister did no survive the broken medical system and physicians who put profit above life. She is obviously not the only person that has fallen victim to the hell we call "our beloved country", where all that really matters is how much you have. She almost certainly will not be the last victim of this broken and fallen state.

Nigeria continues on it's slowly but sure path to destruction. The country has abandoned the path of sanity and reason and is going to hell on "A CONCORD" Christians and Muslims alike. Everybody has decided it is not possible to live without being corrupt or cheating your neighbor even if it means taking his or her life.

The other thing that shocked me was how uncaring the so-called Nigerian Christians are. I was shocked when my brother-in-law tried to put a call to his pastor (A Redeemed Church parish). I heard him inform the pastor that his wife was on life support, the pastor told him to come to the camp meeting the next night, another 24hrs. I was so disgusted, I told him to please inform the pastor that if it were his wife, would he wait another 24hrs to meet someone for prayers? Not only did this pastor say that, I was told there was a protocol in the Redeemed Church before anyone can see the G.O, which I quite understand but should this also be the case in a matter of life and death. Thank God the doors of heaven are always open to people that knock with no protocol involved and when Christ died the veil in the temple tore, so that all might approach the throne room of God.

My darling Itunu Olubunmi, we will always miss you and you will always be in our hearts, those doctors, a broken system and an uncaring country cannot take that away. I have resigned myself to the fact that I can't save the world and God knows why you had to leave so soon. I love you dearly baby girl. I leave the perpetrators to God who is the righteous judge. It is obvious that there are no guidelines in place for clinics and hospitals that treat and operate on people in Nigeria. Even in the major hospitals, they are under funded and a lot of the private clinics/hospitals anaesthetizing people are gas chambers. It is doubtful that the government is even interested in doing anything to address the issue when they lack the resolve to give their citizens basic amenities of life, such as running potable water, constant electricity and good roads. Hundreds of Nigerians die daily on the roads of accident, many because of typhoid and others through gas/ generator fumes.

This is a country that eats its young and brilliant ones. It is not surprising the country is experiencing a "brain drain". Who will want to stay in a place that has become a "hell hole" for young and old alike, where the only happy group are the looters, rapists, murderers and the brazen thieves who care less what happens to their fellow citizens? I thank God for bringing me out and I have now resolved to stay out, but hope that someday Nigeria and Africa will cease to be the land of the people who not only are black outside but whose actions are inherently evil and "black".

I rest my case.

Offline HUSNAA

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One of the things I always pray for is that neither myself nor any of my loved ones fall seriously ill to the point of hospital admission. Its this dread of the ineptitude of medical services in Nigeria. BTW the other day there was a report on the increase in the number of ppl patronizing Egyptian hospitals and the Egyptians are at a loss to understand why we Nigerians are frequenting their shores for medical treatment.
The BBC is currently airing a program about development in the rural areas of northern Nigeria or lack of it more appropriately. The stories are piteous.
Ghafurallahi lana wa lakum

Offline Dave_McEwan_Hill

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This cannot be fixed until the rotten fruit is pulled and burned out right from the top. The jails of Nigeria need to filled first with the rulers of Nigeria who have been stealing the nations economy and its future almost since the days of independence. All this is cleverly covered up by promoting sectarian Moslem v Christian disputes among the ordinary people so they don' t concentrate on the really important  issues of building a decent society for eveybody.
The churches and the mosques on Sundays and Fridays are full of well dressed big thieves shamelessly standing in front of God.

I'm afraid Nigeria needs to go back to square one where it was on Independence day and start again.
Nigeria is awash with money due to its oil. With its massive other natural resouces, including million and millions of acres of fertile lands it should be an example to Africa of a progressive African society.
Instead it is a failing state where the only ambition of most people is to get into position where they can share in the stealing
And as for hypocrisy.
You stone poor people who steal a few naira at the market and give respect to thieves who are stealing millions every day.
I fear you will have to pay to bring in from other countries incorrupt police chiefs, incorrupt hospital manangers and doctors and suspend your democarcy in favour of putting at the top of the federal government and all state goverments honest and totally merciless administrators with a completley free hand to jail and punish anybody, no matter whose brother that person might be and no matter how high that person might be.
That was what the military coups were supposed to do but they soon got corrupted also.
maigemu

Offline Lawwali

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Usman11, Husnaa,Dave and fellow kliners. this email should have come from me since August,2007. I lost my dear loving fiancee courtesy of our Hospitals. It is indeed horrendous and highly dreadful. I cannot mutter a word, Because am also at loss why the Nigerian leadership cannot fix a simple and affordable health care system despite all the revenue from oil e.t.c and the loans the leadership always obtained in our name.

Sometimes if you go to Hospitals in Nigeria, you will never believe yourself that it is meant for human Habitation talkless of illed patients.
When am graduating from the university, a group called the MSSN organised a visit to Prisons, Hospitals, and opernages in the state. I happened to lead the group the that visited Psychiatric ward of one of the Hospitals (although the then Governor of the state embarked on the renovation of the hospital we visited). The ward does not in any way seems to me that Goats or cattles will be stationed there as a shed.

Even the Attention given to patients is as low as every thing. I once asked a cousin who is a Medical Doctor why are they not pitiful of patients' conditions? He replied thus; "I consults nothing lessthan 500 patients every day for various degree of illness, if am to piti them, can i consult upto that?" he questioned me in return.

This cannot be fixed until the rotten fruit is pulled and burned out right from the top. The jails of Nigeria need to filled first with the rulers of Nigeria who have been stealing the nations economy and its future almost since the days of independence. All this is cleverly covered up by promoting sectarian Moslem v Christian disputes among the ordinary people so they don' t concentrate on the really important  issues of building a decent society for eveybody.

Dave have said it all. I am always praying may GOD in his infinite mercy give us the courage and will to CONFRONT,DEALT WITH & UPROOT these injustices being metted on the ordinary Nigerians. But i have the believe that this can only be done when we get ready to make sacrifices including the most precarious ones.
it takes oppressed and oppressor for oppression to occur

Offline HUSNAA

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Lawwalli Allah Ya Jikanta da RahamarSa. Nigeria is just one massive graveyard full of living zombies, all praying for a peaceful inhumation. Allah Ya Kyauta dai.
Ghafurallahi lana wa lakum

Offline usman11

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Lawwali, I am very sorry for your lose. One of the reasons why this story jumped out to me is because like the narrator, and you, and countless others, I too have experienced the pain of losing a Sister to the atrocious health care conditions in Nigeria. My late Sister was married to a guy from Plateau, and had 3 kids with her husband. For starters, she was misdiagonised and put on treatment for what she wasn't suffering from. Then they said it was asthma attack. Anyway, the husband assured us that her doctor in Jos was one of the premier physicians around...some guy named Professor Obi or something. Over time her condition declined, and the attacks became more frequent. On one of her admissions to the hospital, my older brother decided to travel to Nigeria and see things for himself. He came back to America in tears after what he saw left of our sister. His description of this 'renowned' hospital mirrors what that writer and you Lawwali just described. He was horrified with the whole picture. So he came back and mobilised me so we could act quickly. The first plan was to have her transfered a specialist hospital in Lagos immediately. The lagos hospital demanded for...I don't even recall the ridiculous amount they asked for as a deposit. Well, we paid and they admitted her. Less than two weeks later, they demanded for an additional several payment which by now had run into some hundred thousands. It is not we here are rich by any stretch, but we shouldered that responsibility. As the treatment kicked in, she really did make remarkable progress, and was released a few weeks later. She had regained her weight and from what I heard, when she went back for a follow up some weeks later, the hospital staff did not recognise her immediately. So this was good news. However, the asthma attack or whatever attack still lingered. Whenever she suffered one of those attacks (sudden and uncontrollable coughing, and lose of breath) it set her recovery back, and someone usually had to be around to administer some kind of aid to her. Well, one day, while everyone was out of my parents home (my parents had passed on prior) in lagos where she was staying after her discharge, this attack suddenly occured, and with no one around to help, she became unconcious. When she was found and rushed to the hospital, she had lapsed into a coma and passed away.
What particularly troubled me was that her doctor in Jos had supposedly been her physician for 4 years, but when some of my doctor cousins in Washington asked for my late sister's medical records so they could review it, and prepare a medical needs visa for her to come here for treatment, we were all so shocked to receive a one page faxed copy of his report of her medical records. It made absolutely no sense.

My Sister's case, is just one in millions of cases of avoidable deaths in Nigeria. We keep losing people needlessly. Very treatable ailments kill people in Nigeria due to lack of care. The serious question to ask then is what happens to millions of people with limited or no resources to seek medicare? What then is their fate? What kind of country treats its people like this? Even countries that just emerged from years of civil wars like Liberia and Rwanda have gotten their acts together and doing the needful towards their people.

In Nigeria, greed, selfishness, and evil has taken over. Sadly enough, the Nigerian people have exhibited a very disappointing attitude towards their own wellbeing and future. How can people not demand for better? How can people not hold elected officials accountable for a change? How can people now become hostages to the politicians and just go along with whatever is dished at them?

These days, it is not uncommon to hear Governors talking ignorantly about developments. Their idea of development is building structures. In 2009 we still have leaders touting their 'achievements' by pointing to road construction, or purchasing several kia vehicles for transportation, or erecting bore holes in rural communities. Pathetic!!! What a shame. In this day and age, the very basic things, that are even outdated are held up as development.

If I was a Governor, maybe I'll just focus on health care. I probably would channel all the resources I can muster in building a 10 story state of the art hospital and equip it with modern facilities, several operating rooms, ambulance service, EMTs, neurology, cardiology, paedatrics, oncology, radiology, and all the different departments on each floor or wing of that hospital, and then aggressively formulate a comprehensive health care policy that will on a smaller scale establish well equipped, well staffed, and well funded similar, but smaller hospitals in each local government. Then for those areas too far removed, clinics so people can have frequent doctor visits. I'll probably focus on this alone and perfect it till the tenure expires, but then I would have at least fixed something.  Instead, we have like that our governor in Uyo chasing useless ventures like committing resources to building an entertainment plaza. Is that what government does? Build and entertainment plaza? Then what should the private sector do?
Well, I throw my hands up. It is useless, and I agree with Dave. Let Nigeria just go and start all over from pre-independence beginning.

 


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