Thursday, 19 June 2014

In Which An Average Nigerian Deals With An Emergency Without Insurance

You hear some things and feel stupid for fussing over trivial problems. True. Let me share this utterly horrifying but miraculous story with you. It happened to the wife of a handyman (Let's call him Chuma)  I had called to fix something in my apartment...

Her tummy is distended and she is in a lot of pain.
Around midnight, she passes out - three days after giving birth to a baby that passed away shortly after. Chuma is lucky enough to have the number of a neighbour (Let's call him Ejiro) who had the number of a LASUTH ambulance operator (Let's call him Hassan).

She is picked up by the ambulance. Ejiro is kind enough to go with them. They get to Lagos State Teaching Hospital and are told there is no bed space. They drive to Gbagada General Hospital and are told the same thing. Eventually, they find a private hospital willing to help out. They are told surgery is required and as a precaution, to go get three pints of blood. They need about 80,000 naira. They do not have any money.

They head back home to ask neighbours for help. They meet a Pastor who had just gotten home from work. They narrate their ordeal. He tells them if they were born again such calamity would not have befallen them. Thankfully, he goes into his house and comes out with 30,000 naira. They get enough to buy three pints of blood which they hand over to Hassan who knows where to get blood at such an ungodly hour. Hassan heads out with a sample of her blood and their money. They wait.

And wait. And wait. They call Hassan; his number is switched off. Ejiro does not know where Hassan stays. Believing Hassan has pulled a fast one on them; they head back home to look for money. They were lucky to get 10,000 naira. By the time they get back to the the hospital, it is 6am. The doctor tells them they need to do the surgery and a pint of blood is better than none. They agree. On their way out to look for blood, they meet Hassan at the gate, with all three pints. He had spent half the night looking for her blood type and the remaining half 'processing' it; whatever that means.

She is wheeled into the theatre. A short while later, they find out the cause of all their trouble - The placenta of the baby she had delivered three days earlier, had been left inside . The doctor thinks the nurse should be arrested. They call the nurse who begs for mercy. Because the delivery was a difficult one, she thought the wife had no more strength left to handle the removal of the placenta so she left it hoping to do it later and forgot.

The wife is recuperating at home now. Chuma is looking for 70,000 naira; money he owes the hospital. The Pastor has been on Chuma's case, he wants him to come and testify in church. Chuma is just grateful he did not have to bear the pain of losing mother and child within days of each other.

Me, I am covered in goose pimples, thinking, this is how easy it is for people to die in this country; this is how easy it is for people to die in this country. Is this how easy it is for people to die in this freaking country?!

©Naomi Lucas

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Anonymous said... in seriously? Let the remnant of the placenta to remove it later????? Okay. I have heard o

Anonymous said...

People die for worse reasons like no money for panadol. It's just sooo sad