By Donu Kogbara
I’VE just seen a sad report that was emailed to me by the Political Economist, a news website. It says that Marine Police in Lagos have found the body of Dr. Allwell Orji, who jumped off Third Mainland Bridge into the lagoon last Sunday.
Dr. Orji, who worked at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Surulere, Lagos State, had suddenly asked his driver to stop his car, saying that he wanted to ease himself. He had then leapt to his death before the driver or onlookers could intervene.
According to Political Economist, Dr. Essien Attah, who worked with the deceased at Mount Sinai, has issued a social media statement, blaming his late colleague’s suicide on the stresses that doctors face. Some thought-provoking excerpts:
What level of frustration can kill the joy of life in an intelligent young man? [like Orji]…The dark-side of medicine in Nigeria has once again reared its ugly head. A profession that is in the final death throes of extinction has claimed another victim.
Indeed many see doctors as being on top of the food chain hence they carry a heavy burden. Numerous relatives feast on their finances like hungry vultures who keep on coming back for more. They can never take no for answer for it is said doctors always have money as if they work in Nigerian Mint.
Besides the retinue of dependents, there is the drop in job satisfaction. The recalcitrant nature of government has left many doctors on half pay, irregular pay or no pay at all. How can a man with a retinue of dependents and a gamut of hungry mouths to feed survive when his small stipend is irregular and subject to political manipulations?
And the frustration only mounts when you see your colleagues who travelled overseas faring far better despite your waning patriotic zeal that Nigeria will be better. Then there is the poor state of affairs in the health sector. Incessant strikes and decaying infrastructure have reduced doctors in Nigeria to a basal level of indignation and anger. It is now easier to squeeze water from stone than ensure the best possible care for patients. The most basic of life saving measures like oxygen and blood transfusion services are fast becoming a luxury and it is only a man of stone who will not feel depressed at the loss of a patient whose life could have been saved….
…This is the lot of a Nigerian doctor. But the worst culprit of them all are fellow doctors. How many colleagues called Dr Orji and asked how he was doing? How many went out of their way to show him love through his time of difficulty?…
Patients should also learn to appreciate their doctor…Don’t mind the facade of Dr. Orji’s beautiful Nissan SUV, the man had issues and just a calming word could have averted this tragedy.
Say something nice to someone today. It might make the difference between life and death…That may give them a reason to keep on living.