How To Survive A Fidel Castro Surgical Operation

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

There are so many things you should have in mind before you go for a major or minor intestinal surgical operation in a private clinic in my country. I don’t know much about the public ones and this is why my focus is on the experiences I have had with the so-called private ones.

First, you must realize that you may not have a good chance of surviving that operation. No matter the sophistication of the medical paraphernalia around and about you, there is that chance that human factor may just undo and make matters really complicated for you. For me, I was only lucky. Just six months after what has been described as a simple operation, there was a major complication that almost took my life. On another occasion, a patient who had surgery and needed a shot of Chloramphenicol got an overdose from a sleepy nurse. The patient lost her life. In fact matters are even made worse in a Nigeria where the government is insensitive to the needs of her people. Qualified doctors have almost all gone to seek green pastures overseas. The ones left on ground are either half-baked or are businessmen who have decided to cultivate their own green pasture here by starting their own private clinics. To maximize a handsome profit, these clinics employ mostly auxiliary nurses and pay them less than $50 monthly as wages.

Second, you must have a lot of money put by to survive the post operation phase of your life. Yes, I agree with you that it is a little incongruous to put money by for such an unplanned thing as surgery thing but you would find it very hard to cope with post surgery if you don’t have much money. This is not America or a Europe where there are a lot of health schemes on ground for their people. This is a Nigeria where the government has so neglected certain sensitive, essential services that every Dick and Harry with one medical certificate or the other is in the fray to make money from sick people. Even though it is case involving the saving of a life, some private hospital proprietors insists on collecting all or three-quarters of their fee before attending to their patients. In my case, when they were sure I may not make it, the callous doctors were already bringing my medical bill to be settled by my family. Call it the business angle to it and I agree with you but whatever it is that happened to that section of the Hippocratic Oath which states in paragraph number six that: ‘…you will exercise your art solely for the cure of your patient…’

Third, you have to have a close relation or a spouse very close by. If you think that because you have foot your bills and that this qualifies you for normal treatment in that private hospital, you really got it all wrong. Mostly some nurses – they receive wages that are far, far beneath the kind of jobs they do and are overworked. Some do two jobs to make ends meet. There are so many cases where the disgruntled nurse has delayed a minute or two to get the doctor because she is also the receptionist and bursar and the patient died in a post-op emergency. The one thing that gladdens the heart however is the good news that certain people in the UK have developed robotic nurses that are programmed to work in the interest of the patient. The only snag there is, is that these robots cannot work until a decade from now mostly because they are not compatible with humans yet. Well, this is good for Britons and their neighbours but for us here it is a big problem.

Fourth, you must contact your pastor and members of your local church to pray fervently for you. There is so much against you in the sense that when you are in that theatre, you are merely at the brink of life and of death and anything could tip the balance for or against you. That is why you need the participation and presence of the First Surgeon himself to guide the human surgeons and nurses and doctors for your sake.

In all, what we must realize is that a major or minor surgical operation in a country like mine should not be a cause for worry if elaborate health schemes are in place for everyone. The only health schemes in place are for those in government employ and those arranged by private companies for their staff. What about those for the unemployed?

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