By CHIOMA OBINNA & GABRIEL OLAWALE
In its bid to end medical tourism and save huge capital flight lost by the country following rush by Nigerians to obtain medical treatments overseas, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, has successfully performed open heart surgeries and kidney transplant on three patients. The feat is a first by the apex referral institution.
Disclosing this last week at a media briefing, the Chief Medical Director, Prof Akin Oshibogun, said with the landmark achievement, the hospital has joined the league of global hospitals which perform heart surgery. He said the School of Medicine has long been on the list of hospitals that perform renal transplant.
His words: “The first of the three was an 18-month -old girl who was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease with multiple dose of the heart. This has been corrected by surgery.
“The second patient is a 23-year-old undergraduate who had partial retrovascular section effect. This is also a hole in the heart and tears the heart walls: all has been corrected. The walls have been repaired, the tears have been repaired and she is ready to go home. The third one is a seven-year-old boy who also had a congenital heart disease and hypertrophy right ventricular. He has had total heart correction and can live as long as any of us because it is totally corrected.
“These are the three patients we operated upon during the cardiac surgery. It is a milestone in the life of this country. Other hospitals that have attempted open heart surgery are University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Nsukka and University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan,” he said.
Oshibogun also said that his institution successfully carried out a renal transplantation in the hospital the same period.
“During the same period, we successfully carried out a renal transplantation in the hospital; everything happened simultaneously, he said, adding;” This isvery good news for Nigerians. The Lagos University Teaching Hospital has now joined the league of Nigerian hospitals with the capability for open heart surgery.
“Of course, we know that we have joined the league of hospitals which carry out renal transplantation since. We are strengthening the hospital to be able to offer these services to Nigerians so that the reason for medical tourism outside Nigeria will now reduce. The open heart surgeries were carried out in collaboration with some of our foreign partners and of course some Nigerian experts took part in the procedure,” the CMD said.
He said LUTH is collaborating with experts from other countries to ensure effective transfer of technology and safety of patients.
“Whenever you are starting a new programme, it is always important to collaborate with another institution that has had experience in that area. Prior to this, we have sent our staff for training with our collaborating hospital in India. We have collaboration with the Frontier Lifeline Hospital, India.
“We have made this decision to ensure the safety of the patients; else, we would have depended on our freshly trained staff. But, the number one goal of the hospital is patient safety and because of this goal, we would continue to partner with these institutions so that the technology would be properly transferred.”