By Victoria Ojeme
For the family of Mr. Chukwuma James, the battle to keep their five-year-old son, Ferdinard Chukwuma, alive has become a race against time, two years after futile attempts to restore his blocked anus in Nigerian hospitals appear to have hit brickwall.
After several harrowing experiences, Ferdinard urgently requires surgery in India, for which his parents must cough out N6million otherwise the boy dies.
The boy has had to endure living without intestines for six months part of measures by medical experts to keep him alive.
Already robbed of the pleasure of infancy, due to his stay in and out of hospital in the last two years, Ferdinard is hanging precariously to life, hoping his already over stretched parents are able to come with the money required to save his life.
Narrating his ordeal, James, the father, said, “When my son was born, we discovered that he found it difficult to pass stool. We reported to the hospital where he was born and we were asked to begin Enema, a process where soap and water is passed through the anus, to forcefully bring out stool and we were doing it.
“We went for scanning at General Hospital, Suleja when he was two years old and discovered he had intestinal obstruction. First, surgery was carried out there, but, after three months, his stomach started swelling up; we took him to a private hospital where he was treated and he was fine.”
Ferdinard’s condition, according to the father, however, took a turn for the worse, when, at four years , last year, the intestinal obstruction resurfaced, once again making it impossible for him to pass stool. The boy was sent back to the operating theatre, but with no visible improvement to his health condition. Rather, James lamented that that things went from bad to worse.
According to him, “ When he was four years old, last year, he started complaining of stomach ache and found it difficult to pass stool again. We started Enema again but, for six days, he couldn’t pass stool.
“We took him to General Hospital, Maraba, when the nurses there tried Enema but it didn’t work. He was admitted and after referred to General Hospital, Gwagwalada.
“On 16 May, 2012, the doctors sent a message to me, because i was not around, that they will cut his intestines to bring it out. I felt bad but they had to save his life; so they cut it and brought the intestines out.
“On 21 May, 2012, the second operation was performed on him by Dr. Eniola and we were asked to bring him back after after months for his intestines to be returned into his stomach.
“On December 3, 2012, the third operation was done, which they said was corrective surgery. The cost of managing him is not easy. My wife is always monitoring him.
“After the corrective surgery, I thought he would be fine; so I traveled. While I was away, my wife called to say the operation was unsuccessful, the stomach was leaking and that feaces was pouring from his body.
“The room where he was kept in the hospital was stinking, people couldn’t come close. It was like he was abandoned, I wasn’t happy that my son’s condition deteriorated like that.
“They said we had to get pints of blood; we did. On 25 December, they were in the theatre from 12.30 pm to 8 pm,, all all they could do after was to bring out his intestines again.” James, a civil servant, is desperately in need of help to raise the N6million required to take Ferdinard to India for corrective surgery.
“Now they have referred him to India. The doctors reports here have been sent to the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, India where he is expected to be treated”, the embattled father said.
“After converting the amount in dollars to our money here, it amounts to about N6m and he will spend two and a half months there. They said three major operations will be carried out on him”
He added, “As a civil servant, I don’t have that kind of money. They did their best here but I think we don’t have enough and standard hospital equipment in Nigeria.
“ Nigerians should please come to our aid, we need help. Fedrinard has just about two months to undergo this operation or suffer severe problems. Please we need help”.