*Needs N3.4 million to stay live
BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—THE family of Mr. and Mrs. Mr. Okechukwu Onumkpu has cried out to Nigerians to help save the life of their two year old son, David Onyedikachi Okechukwu, a hole in the heart patient. The electrician father and petty vegetable trader mother of David who hail from Amokwe Obayi Ovim in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State, said that they discovered with shock that the last of their three children and has developed a life-threatening ailment which their pocket could not handle and are there seeking financial help from good spirited Nigerians.
According to the mother, the only sign they observed was that David constantly took ill when he was barely seven months old. “It all started with fever and with time, he started emaciating. We visited several hospitals when his condition worsened. It got to a period when the arteries on his head enlarged when he slept as if they were going to burst. At that period, doctors recommended that we go for an X-ray,” Mrs. Onumkpu said.
According to her, doctors said they discovered from the X-ray that David’s heart was shaped like figure eight, unlike the shape of a normal heart and recommended further tests that would facilitate proper investigation into the abnormal shape of David’s heart.
“We were referred to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu, and we went there. After the test, the doctor told us that there is a hole in David’s heart. The doctor explained that the artery circulating blood in David’s body is not only tiny but blocked, occasioning improper blood circulation and resulting in an enlarged heart,” the distressed mother narrated,
She said that the doctor told them that their son should be flown abroad for heart surgery. The family said that further medical examinations they were referred to at the Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, Umuahia, showed that “no focal celebral or cerebellar anomaly” was noticed; otherwise little David would undergo “complete surgery” which involves both brain and heart surgeries.
According to the parents, it was at FMC, Umuahia, that Dr. Onwuta Chidiebere, a Consultant Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon informed them that David has a case of a hole in the heart. “Dr. Onwuta told us that the case would not be handled in Nigeria since it is a case of hole in the heart. He said if it is corrected early enough, the child will live. He explained that the process entailed closing the hole, flushing the arteries and enlarging it to the normal size,” Mrs. Okechukwu explained.
In a letter with reference number FMC/QEH/S./17/17 dated October 6, 2015, and titled: “To Whom It May Concern. Re: Okechukwu David Onyedikachi, Male 2 Years Old”, Dr. Onwuta wrote:”The above named patient has a complex congenital cyanotic heart disease called DORV with hypo plastic pulmonary artery. Clinically speaking the child cannot live without correcting the mal-formation through open heart operation.
“This type of surgery cannot be done in our country presently. We can obtain the service in USA, Europe or India. Our hospital has partnership with Madras Medical Mission in India. It is among the best five cardiac centres in Southern Asia”. According to the Consultant, the cost of the surgery is N3 million while visa arrangement and air ticket would cost N100, 000 and N300, 000 respectively. Unable to provide the amount, the Okechukwu-Onumkpus are seeking financial assistance from good spirited Nigerians.