RSS

Category Archives: Health

Steths don’t lie!

image

Steths don’t lie, people do.

I glance at my stethoscope and sigh. The day is October 1st 2014 and I am sitting at an independence day program listening to one of the speakers tear to shreds the last atom of self-respect I have. I think of a thousand other places I’d rather be instead of right there lost in the crowd, sitting on the 8th row but still invisible to the one man who claims to know all about me. When did I become this villain, this hated persona whose pride in her work has been snatched away by ignorant speakers such as the man who stands before me? Men who have the crowd roaring in excitement, who know just what to say to get the mob agitated and ready to do his bidding and care less about who has to hang for the sake of a good speech! I zip up my bag hurriedly, I don’t want Mr Steths hearing such bull, it could break him…and a good Littman stethoscope costs about £150 these days.

Who gave this man the permission to perpetrate ignorance? If it was any other function, we definitely would have settled it outside (I am tougher than I look oh). I think of all the casualties of this long drawn out war between the people and doctors and sigh… (if Oliver Pope was real, this definitely would need fixing). I wish I could introduce the speaker to Mrs A, my dedicated co-worker who is now a widow responsible for three children after her husband died of HIV following a needle-stick injury while he was treating a patient. Mrs A has the virus too but you would never know as she goes about her duties cheerfully. Or maybe to  Mr B, who shed tears when he was told he wouldn’t be paid this month. His rent is due and so are his children’s school fees and contrary to what this arrogant speaker is telling the crowd, Mr B has no savings to fall back on. He barely manages to keep his head above water in the sea of middle class men. And so many other doctors share his fate yet he scuttles to the emergency room when summoned to see a new patient, his problems momentarily forgotten. How does Mr B explain to his children who rarely get to see their father that all the effort he puts into his job night and day is not enough to ensure their school fees are paid on time? How does he explain to the world that the thought of buying a brand new car is merely a fantasy he couldn’t dare to entertain? Yet he is supposed to be a doctor, a senior registrar for that matter. The world doesn’t know about this but ask Mr Steths, he hears everything.

What this speaker doesn’t know is that beneath the white coat and brisk demeanor lies a broken man. An overworked, unappreciated member of society who is expected to serve at all costs regardless of his present circumstances no better than a mere slave. His dignity long forgotten, his legacy merely an embarrassment. His pleas for better work conditions shelved in the archives of greedy employees. Nobody remembers he looks death in the face each and everyday. Nobody remembers that he handles patients and diseases that could potentially cost him his life and that he walks boldly where others fear to tread (R.I.P Dr Adedavoh). We are not afraid to die and some of us have died, unsung heroes just to save a life. We wouldn’t mind Ebola and Hepatitis if it meant our children would be well taken care of if we passed on, we wouldn’t mind HIV and Lassa fever if it meant that we would be able to afford a home of our own or a car that wasn’t ‘tokunbo’. We wouldn’t mind the stench of a diabetic foot or Fournier’s gangrene if we had great working conditions. We wouldn’t mind the gore of a burst abdomen or the vigil beside a critically ill patient if we were appreciated by the people we give our lives for each and every day. But even without these perceived luxuries we work tirelessly everyday to ensure that the lives in our care do not waste away and instead of gratitude we are painted as greedy and wicked.

Free services are demanded of us by men and women who would not dream of letting the doctor’s child go to school for free or dream of giving him merchandise without money. Men and women who would not save the doctor the littlest expense, they would smile at him and say ‘Ah ah, you be doctor na, you get all of the money’. They grumble that the doctor would dare drop his stethoscope for even a day in the name of a strike but pray do tell me if there is another way to get the government to listen and yet another way to make them stay true to their promises. Like a slave who revolts after tireless beatings, doctors have revolted refusing to suffer in silence any longer. They prayed for a voice, one to fight their battles as they focused on saving lives and who better to do that than the very patients who they had managed but these patients so easily forget help rendered and join the mob to throw stones, forgetting that those who oppress the doctors are the same ones who oppress the masses, the same ones who always seek medical help abroad and cannot be even the least bit worried about the deplorable working conditions and quality of services in the health sector. My people shouldn’t we be joining forces to fight this menace rather than fighting each other?  Don’t be deceived by false statistics, for every doctor that lives in luxury there are sixty others living in squalor. Maybe it’s time the doctor started trading by barter because the other option would be to provide his every need, to allow his children go to school for free, to make sure he didn’t have to worry about his rent or his family’s expenses so that he could focus solely on saving the lives brought before him. Let’s start with you mister car dealer who refuses to go to hospital, it’s not your right to have free consultation over the phone, it’s a favor and one good turn deserves another. How about a car at half price?

They say becoming a consultant is the peak of our career, I have seen pitiable consultants who could only be called successful within the four walls of a hospital where they wield their diminutive power over subordinates till the day closes and they drag their worn out shoes into their worn out car, praying that by some stroke of good fate it would start without pushing. Why would you even entrust your life or the life of your loved ones into the hands of a man who was depressed and disgruntled with his job? It is quite ridiculous to assume he would do his best for you when the society he lives in does not care about him, when the people he works for do not care about him. It’s hard to be a hero every blessed day, doctors don’t have the luxury of being human. And for many the future is bleak.

Ask my stethoscope, he has seen it all…He has heard the deceptive words of the medical elders as they sold us out for personal gain, he shuddered at the closed door meetings, his presence forgotten as they made plans to trample upon their own for the good of their pockets.
Mr Steths ears burned when he was roughly pushed aside by the grey haired man who eagerly advised the president on the best course of action against his own kind in exchange for a place among the ruling council. Let’s not even get started about the time he heard the management warn the doctors to not treat any patient for free as they would have the cost deducted from their salaries along with a fine. Mr Management was snoring in his house the day the woman who couldn’t afford the money for the surgery died in the waiting room. No one saw the unshed tears glistening in the doctor’s eyes, his hands tied. He pressed his empty wallet against his thigh, wishing he had the five thousand naira needed by the patient for the deposit. His colleague had been fired a week before for daring to flaunt management’s orders. He needed the job but it was costing him his soul. Ask Mr Steths about all the times doctors have had to count out precious Naira to assist a patient who desperately needed a drug or test. The deed promptly forgotten as the patient ventures back into the world, the doctor’s kindness buried along with painful hospital memories not even resurfacing during testimony time at church. Perhaps these patients see it as their right, perhaps they believe we are an elite group of cyborgs created to serve…I wonder…

This uncouth speaker talks about us knowing what we signed up for when we decided to become doctors. What ten year old knows the truth about being a doctor in Nigeria? What sixteen year old filling her JAMB form can recognize the sorrow behind the doctor’s smile?  What twenty-three year old graduating from medical school knows the dissatisfaction surrounding the practice of medicine? The old doctors are tired of fighting, their eyes cast down in defeat. The younger doctors are becoming hustlers. After all you are nothing in this country without money. Dignity doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills. Yet we serve, for whatever reason, whether it is to earn a salary or out of human compassion or for the sake of the passion we feel for the medical profession, we serve. WE SERVE.

My steths doesn’t lie, he doesn’t need a PR agent to make him look good, he believes in the greater good of humanity but people lie…

I could be lying right now like many others before me but then again I just might be speaking the truth and perhaps I have been able to give you a little insight amidst the jumble of words. So the next time you sit down judging a doctor, think of him as a person, not necessarily a good person but a person nonetheless who doesn’t care about where you have been or what you have done, who doesn’t care about the extra hours or the unending sacrifices but is only interested in helping you the best way he can even if he has a long list of unmet needs hanging over his head. It is his job description isn’t it? He isn’t the enemy, he isn’t the oppressor. He is human just like you.

Love your doctor, it’s healthy!
A heartfelt thank you gives us the sort of high that makes unpaid bills float away…Ask Mr Steths, he has been around far longer than I have and could teach you a thing or two!

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,
Xoxoxo

Advertisements
 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Triage Patients to stop the Ebola epidemic; An essential tool for every health worker!

url

If you are a health worker, hospital administrator or any other staff in a health facility then THIS IS FOR YOU!

 

Hello Nigerians,

The Ebola virus has become an unwelcome visitor and calculated steps must be taken to curb this epidemic before it escalates. Do not be a victim. As a health worker you are in the fore-front and you need to be armed with this questionnaire to ensure that the patient whose life you are trying to save does not become the very patient responsible for your demise. Hospitals should print out these questionnaires and have them at the front desk. Insist all patients fill them before they are attended to and above all, every health worker should obey universal precautions even if the questionnaire puts the patient in the clear.

Please click on the links below to view and download the questionnaire and spread the word. Thank you!

The BE questionnaire- Instructions

The BE Questionnaire

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

World War E!!!

image

The Ebola outbreak takes the world unawares as the virus which was first reported in West Africa breaks through borders and boundaries. Transmitted from person to person through touch, the whole world becomes one large bucket brigade as the virus passes from country to country hidden in the body of an innocuous passenger with a dark secret. People fear Ebola but they fear the concentration camp worse.

“It’s like an early death sentence…”
A business man who was caught after hiding for several weeks exclaimed. He had been hoping to prove a point when he didn’t catch the virus, alas, the symptoms were unmistakable and he had finally quit running.

A special task force ETF has been empowered to force all suspected contacts of victims into a concentration camp. The concentration camps were initially built to be health facilities for quarantining suspected cases and contacts but as more people got infected, supplies ran low and soon they were just containments, temporary jails for soon to be corpses. Every country had a concentration camp. As Amanpour had remarked; “The world was once called a global village but the same technology that made China one airplane away from the US has aided in the spread of the biggest threat to humanity’s existence ever recorded”.
The US was under attack, countries were desperate for ZMAPP the fabled cure. The US President had released a statement that the serum was not yet ready to be exported as it was still undergoing clinical trials but the world was not buying that. Everybody knew about the much publicized cure of the two American health workers and the Germans and Russians were ready to do about anything to have their hands on it. Even China and the middle east were preparing to attack. The Pentagon had its plate full. Containing the virus and working on the cure was starting to take second place to protecting the people of America from the subtle attacks by other nations who were ready to do anything to lay their hands on that cure.

The President of Nigeria looked at his breakfast plate, a dry taste in his mouth. He had been drinking salt water and bathing in salt water for weeks now and he was dehydrated to say the least. His blood pressure wasn’t doing too good lately and he wasn’t sure if it was as a result of the excess salt in his system or the mounting pressure from the scourge of Ebola. Two of the ministers in his cabinet had died of kidney failure since this salt madness started but who would blame them? Salt and water seemed to be what every Nigerian without the virus swore by. He knew deep down it was doing more harm than good but the Ebola scare made everyone a bit mad.

“Bring me more bitter kola”, He roared.

Bitter Kola had become black gold since the unsubstantiated claims by that Iwu man. He hated the thing, much preferred Alcohol but like his aide had pointed out, a dead president would only make his enemies rejoice but really who was rejoicing now? He was afraid to admit he missed the days of Boko Haram. Now humanity was united against a common enemy, a biological threat that conspirators believed the US President was behind. If it wasn’t warfare, why wouldn’t he release the cure? He took a bite of his bitter kola and marked another day on his calendar. He should have traveled for the world summit today but nobody was doing any more traveling since the virus broke loose. Countries now spontaneously shot down any plane in their airspace and in this time of turmoil, it would be a waste to die from anything but Ebola.

…Another earthquake in China
Hurricane Genevieve kills millions….

The US President called a top secret closed-door meeting. He needed an update and fast. Intelligence reports said Russia was releasing a missile that could wipe out half of America if the serum was not released to the open market.

“These people are mad! Can’t they see there are Americans dying of Ebola? If the serum was so great wouldn’t we save our own?” the Chief of Staff banged the table in exasperation.

“Where are we with the serum modifications?” Mr President asked as calmly as he could muster.

“Sir, it’s a dead-end. The work on the serum has yielded nothing positive.”

“And the two scientists?”

“Still alive and contained but we fear that they are growing stronger by the day. The serum seems to have mutated their DNA to…to…something not quite human”

“So what’s the plan? I say we give the world the bloody serum and let them worry about the side-effects rather than face annihilation.” The head of the CIA had a determination in his voice that made everybody nod unconsciously.

“We can’t do that. Imagine exposing humans to a serum that takes away their very humanity? That would be like creating another race and they would fight us for dominance, survival of the fittest. Humanity is at its weakest right now, I don’t think we could survive that. Almost one-third of the world’s population is infected with Ebola which means we would have one-third of the world’s people mutated”

“But Mr President it would end the outbreak once and for all and then we could contain the mutated people in strongholds while scientists all over the world worked on a cure to change them back. It would save the rest of humanity Sir”.

“In my 4 years as president this is the toughest choice I have ever had to make. Call for a press conference…”

ZMAPP now available! Millions of lives saved…
…Side-effects alarming, CDC cautions governments to keep patients confined in strongholds till an antidote is found.
Ebola eradicated…

The US President is pacing around the Oval Office, not caring about his aides. This can’t be happening…
“Sir we just received a report that the east wing is under attack, we have to go NOW!”

The Nigerian President is riding in his convoy on his way to his country home. It’s so nice to not have to worry about anything else than politics that he has decided that a long car ride with many stop-overs will be just the thing his image and his eyes need. Besides since the shooting down of planes became rampant, his love for flying has gone down to zero. He remembers his private jet gathering dust.

He looks out the window as the convoy stops. It’s just bushes and trees.
“Why are we stopping?”
“Sir there is a man on the road, he looks mad. He is standing in the middle of the road”
“Then get him to move”
“Sir Agent Chuks just tried but the mad man bit his neck, we need to get him to the hospital”
“Oya take one car, also restrain that mad man before he hurts someone else”
“Sir, Agent Akari shot the mad man in the chest but but…”
The car phone went dead.
Mr President looked at the aides beside him.
“What is going on out there?”
There were screams and suddenly four people ran past the car, clothes torn.
“W…was that..?” Mr President couldn’t finish his statement or even believe his eyes.
He had just seen three of his most trusted aides who looked like they were stark raving mad and the fourth person had a bullet hole in his chest. That wasn’t possible.
The driver of his car suddenly pressed the accelerator.
“Chief we have to ditch the convoy, we are under attack.”
The last Mr President saw was his entire convoy biting themselves in the neck and acting all crazy. He felt the gut-wrenching pull of vomitus and clutched his belly. What was happening?

ANOTHER WAR!

And then Tosin woke up. “Olorun maje, thank God it was only a dream.” His only reality now was to make money and not get Ebola…

What is your reality? Some people are living with HIV, Cancer or some other life-threatening disease, others are constantly afraid of terrorist attacks or mourning the loss of a dear one. Yet others prepare for a hurricane about to hit or try to recover from a massive earthquake. What is your reality? Is it the Ebola virus, or poverty or fear of Boko Haram or maybe something worse? Remember that your destiny is in your hands. Here are 5 very important survival tips:

  1. #StopEbola. Wash your hands, protect yourself. Do not send useless broadcasts that are neither scientific nor spiritual. Decide not to spread fear or killer practices. Confirm every piece of information before passing it on knowing that not everyone is as knowledgeable as you are and some are easily persuaded
  2. Pray and think positive thoughts. Asking God to take control of a difficult situation brings calm and solutions. There is nothing God cannot do. Having faith doesn’t mean you won’t take proper precautions please. Remember that it is the same God who gives man knowledge and ideas about preserving our own humanity.
  3. Be thankful. Appreciate the people around you and the people who care about you. Be thankful that you are even alive right now and not in harm’s way. And call those you care about from time to time to educate them and see how they are doing.
  4. #Bringbackourgirls- more than a hundred days later, they must never think they have been forgotten, our prayers are with them. Do something worthwhile. Join a cause worth fighting for. No one prays to die early but if you were ever gonna die before your time then you should be remembered for something awesome!
  5. Watch the news. Less social media, more international awareness. And while you are at it, read the book of Revelations again.

Stay safe Chutzpah fam,
Xoxoxo

<

blockquote>

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , , ,

EBOLA VIRUS- The Serial Killer Gets Shipped To Lagos!

EBOLA VIRUS- The Serial Killer Gets Shipped To Lagos!

TOPSHOTS-GUINEA-HEALTH-EBOLA

 

His name was Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian who died yesterday in Lagos from a suspected case of the newest epidemic- Ebola. May his soul R.I.P.

Ebola is a virus which causes the Ebola Virus Disease or Ebola Hemorrhagic fever; the symptoms of the disease include fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys and as the disease progresses, the affected person begins to bleed from any or all of the following – mouth, nose, ears, eyes, skin, internal bleeding, prolonged bleeding from wounds etc. Death inevitably occurs in about a week, as there is no known vaccination or cure at present.

Can you catch Ebola?

Yes! A person can get Ebola by eating contaminated bush meat or touching a contaminated corpse or coming in contact with contaminated blood or body fluids of an infected animal such as a monkey or fruit bat (farmers and hunters beware) and even pigs but that isn’t why we are all worried after all how many average Nigerians get to do any of these things.

Well here is the problem: EBOLA IS SPREAD FROM ONE INDIVIDUAL TO ANOTHER BY PHYSICAL CONTACT!

–          If you touch a person who has Ebola virus, you will be at risk. (Think about the health workers who treated the Liberian man and initially didn’t know he was infected and then think of all the other people they could have touched- in the hospital, at home, in the bus etc.) THANKFULLY, DOCTORS OBEY UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS and wash their hands after seeing a patient. The question is, do you?

–          Men who survive an infection with Ebola (yes, a few people do survive, the disease kills 50-90% of infected victims) may be able to transmit the disease sexually for nearly two months. GIRLFRIENDS, WIVES and SIDECHICKS BEWARE!

Ok so now you see the magnitude of the problem. The dude who shook your hand could have Ebola. The lady who touched you may be infected. The caretaker trying to get that body to the morgue may be joining him soon and the doctors, nurses and the other members of the health team are very much at risk. The brave doctor who was spearheading the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has been infected by the virus and his predecessor died of Lassa fever (Ebola’s brother). If you felt the Nigerian doctors were being greedy by asking for a meaningful hazard allowance, think again. The money won’t stave off death but at least it would show the risk they were taking was duly compensated!

So how can you prevent catching the disease and how can you help curb the epidemic?

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and if you can help it carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your bag so that every time you touch an individual, you disinfect your hands.
  2. Forget about bush meat right now. Do not visit joints that offer exotic meat. Yes I know it tastes great with palm wine but dead men don’t drink remember? (Libation doesn’t count!)
  3. If you suspect your neighbor has Ebola or even your family or friends, do not take them to a chemist, please take them straight to a teaching hospital AND DO NOT TOUCH THEM OR THEIR BLOOD, FAECES, URINE, TEARS, SPUTUM OR SWEAT and if you have been in close contact with them, avoid contact with others till you are sure you didn’t catch it.
  4. Health workers please observe UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS abeg!!! Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected individuals.
  5. Don’t touch the dead body of an infected person.
  6. Do not travel to a place where an Ebola epidemic has broken out (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan)
  7. Avoid touching contaminated materials and utensils used by an infected person.
  8. Call 08057886636, 08023169485, 08033086660, 08033065303, 08055281442, 08055329229 to report a case or ask questions.

Ebola virus is highly infectious and contagious and it has no cure. Please stay safe!

Don’t panic, just stay calm and wash your hands, thank God it isn’t air-borne!

Have a lovely night Chutzpah fam,

xoxo

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Staphylococcus- the mythical mother of all STDs!

image39-2x3cjcwo0xgcmqz1tfoave

The doctor’s in the building…Here is a post by our very own doctor and guest blogger. Hope this answers all your questions about Staphylococcus!


Growing up, I had always heard about the dreaded disease- Staphylococcus. Even the name sounded so serious, a life threatening disease I was sure it was. I couldn’t wait to have the lecture on it in school. I figured it was going to be in the league of HIV/AIDS. Then we started having lectures, days became weeks then months, yet none of my lecturers had talked about it yet. Hmm, perhaps they were saving the ‘best’ for the last. Then one day, our microbiology lecturer was talking about bacteria and then he talked about the cocci group of bacteria, finally! I said to myself. Then he mentioned staphylococci, I settled into my seat properly, ready and eager to know all there was about this dreaded disease. To be fair, the lecturer probably spent 30minutes talking about staphylococcus, the laboratory findings, the clinical features and then the treatment and management. I wasn’t satisfied. After all, last week we talked about HIV for about 3 days. Why should this disease get only 30 minutes, wasn’t it serious enough? Considering all the fliers, newspaper adverts, billboards, radio jingles and TV adverts dedicated to this disease by various trado-doctors (herbalists or babalawos) why were the Western doctors not taking the disease seriously? Maybe that’s why we kept losing the trust of our patients. What would uncle R think if I couldn’t cure common staph? What sort of doctor would I be?

Now, I’m usually self-conscious and I don’t like to ask questions in class and all, but seeing that I’d been looking forward to this topic, I was torn, do I get up and ask the lecturer more questions or should I just read about it? While I was still trying to decide, a classmate of mine asked the questions on my mind.

‘Was staph not a sexually transmitted disease, didn’t it cause infertility and why were there no antibiotics that could treat it, why did people need to seek herbal medicine to manage staph?’

So my people, that was how my classmates and I saw through the scam that these native doctors aka babalawos aka tradomedicine aka herbalists aka naturalists run on the average unsuspecting Nigerian. I really don’t know the genesis of how staphylococcus being an STI came about. I don’t even know who taught these guys how to spell the word, seeing as it does take me some time to spell it correctly. All I know is somehow, one day these guys had a meeting and decided that staphylococcus was a big sounding word that would instil fear in their clients and fetch them more money because of the claim that it was life threatening, sexually transmitted and would affect their fertility. You know we Nigerians don’t joke with anything that would affect our fertility, our sex lives or our lives generally.

native_doctor

So ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to dispel a couple of rumours and hopefully I would be able to relieve you of the fears you have and provide you with adequate information about the great staphylococcus bacteria. Don’t get me wrong, staphylococcus infections could be very serious requiring long hospital stays and strong ANTIBIOTICS, IN THE HOSPITAL under the supervision of a MEDICAL DOCTOR.

Here are ten things you didn’t know about staph.

  1. Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that can cause a number of diseases as a result of infection of various tissues of the body. They can cause illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially deadly.
  2. Staphylococci can be found normally in the nose and on the skin of around 25%-30% of healthy adults and in these people it does not cause disease. Due to this, it is often found as a contaminant in laboratory cultures so a urine, blood, vaginal swab or seminal fluid specimen can yield staph as a contaminant if the specimen is not properly handled or the laboratory work environment is not sterile. This is probably why a lot of labs give results that show patients have ‘staph’.
  3. Anyone can develop a Staph infection, although certain groups of people are at greater risk, including new born infants, breastfeeding women, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, IV drug users, those with skin injuries or disorders, intravenous catheters, surgical incisions, and those with a weakened immune system.
  4. Skin infections are the most common infections that can occur from staphylococcus, this can be as minor as pimples or boils (abscess collection), cellulitis or as fatal as scalded skin syndrome. In this case, it can be transmitted from person to person and is highly contagious. Since pus from infected wounds may contain the bacteria, proper hygiene and hand washing is required when caring for Staph-infected wounds.
  5. Staphylococcus can also cause mastitis which is a collection of abscess in d breast which makes the breast painful and swollen and is usually seen in breast feeding mothers.
  6. Staph infection can spread in the blood stream and cause pneumonia (infection in the lungs) or cause endocarditis (infection of the heart valves) or cause osteomyelitis (infection of the bones) or general staphylococcal sepsis which is wide spread infection of the entire blood stream.
  7. There is also a kind of food poisoning that can be caused by staph. In this cause the symptoms are acute vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration usually develop within one to six hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts for one to three days and resolves on its own. Patients with this illness are not contagious.
  8. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare potentially fatal infection caused by toxins from staphylococcus. It is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and muscle aches, followed by low blood pressure (hypotension), which can lead to shock and death.
  9. Treatment of staphylococcus is dependent on the kind of illness. Minor skin infections are usually treated with an antibiotic ointment or in some cases, oral antibiotics. If abscesses are present, they are surgically drained. More serious and life-threatening infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
  10. Prevention includes careful hand washing, avoiding close skin contact with possible infected individuals; also careful attention to food-handling and food-preparation practices can decrease the risk of staphylococcal food poisoning.

So there you have it. Everything you need to know about staph. Staphylococcus is NOT a sexually transmitted disease so please stop dashing money to these no-gooders and spread the word!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions and thanks for stopping by at the doctor’s office. x

 

You can follow our guest blogger on twitter: @deevadoc

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When doctors weep…

The past couple of weeks have been a turbulent one for the medical profession in Nigeria as 788 doctors were issued queries and then sacked as a result of a strike action that resulted from futile dialogue with the Lagos state government over its failure to keep its side of an agreement signed by both parties more than a year ago.

We’ve heard the patients and concerned citizens air their views. Doctors have been largely misrepresented by the media according to Dr. Y who believes one of the medical association’s biggest problems is those we select to represent us (hence the losing PR battle). Doctors need to be heard and here’s what some doctors had to say:

Dr. D, an NMA spokesperson said; “Bola Ahmed Tinubu was part of the government team that signed an agreement with Lagos doctors last year, Fashola should honor the agreement. FYI, Lagos judicial workers earn more than Federal judicial workers. Fashola must be a Governor of all not a group”

Dr. IN, a Lagos state doctor has this to say: “The consolidated medical salary scale (CONMESS) was the salary structure designed by the Federal Government four years ago with the aim of providing a uniform salary scale for doctors irrespective of the state, kind of hospital and area of specialization with an annual increment denoting years of experience. Most states in the country immediately began paying CONMESS in full. Two years after this, the medical guild wrote several letters to the Lagos Government to remind them of CONMESS as they were yet to be paid. The governor then SIGNED an agreement that he would commence payment in 2011 with arrears being owed. The Federal Government made it clear that if CONMESS was paid, doctors would ignore the poor work conditions, work extended hours like they have been accustomed to (but this time they would be happy doing it) and they wouldn’t have to leave the country to work abroad. More people would be encouraged to train as doctors and the health of the people would be secured! Instead, tax was increased, CONMESS was not paid, work conditions were not improved, doctors’ lives were lost to stress related illnesses and medical hazards and call rooms were not provided for doctors on call. When Governor Fashola was reminded in January, he simply said the President couldn’t dictate how much he would pay doctors in his state and the tax increase was necessary so the doctors should get used to it! He said he couldn’t afford to pay CONMESS (but he could plan the most expensive birthday party in the World for Alhaji Tinubu). We then embarked on a legal 3-day warning strike with prior notice to sensitize the people and remind the government of the signed agreement. On resumption, all doctors were given individual query letters (for a joint action!), another one was issued, and then letters were issued for “call to panel / impending dismissal from duty”.  A week later, armored tanks were brought to all Lagos General Hospitals and Teaching Hospital Lasuth, Ikeja with doctors walked out of their clinics while seeing patients. The Med guild immediately called for an indefinite strike and the Lagos state government was sued for breach of agreement and victimization of doctors. Fake pay slips were published in the papers some weeks ago claiming doctors were being paid as much as 900,000 whereas a medical professor of 20 years has never been paid as much as 500,000. A Neurosurgeon (brain surgeon) consultant still collects 171,000 as basic salary (excluding allowances). Be informed we have only about 20 in Nigeria (Two of them with Lagos state, they trained in America and they have both been sacked!) and these are doctors who work round the clock due to the number of head injuries daily as a result of road traffic accidents. 3 days ago, we were issued sack letters and 97 doctors (not 373 like you heard) were employed as Locum doctors (doctors paid per hour). These locum doctors need residents and consultants to put them through. It takes years of experience to perform a caesarian section on a woman or a brain surgery (especially bore hole to relieve increased brain pressure or blood in the brain) or an appendectomy or treat a sick child or even to help a mentally ill patient. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has made it clear that the newly appointed doctors should not & would not accept the job offer and that all doctors across the nation would join in the strike against victimization on Friday after the ongoing professional exams. The issue is now beyond CONMESS struggle – the government is aiming to devour the medical and dental profession. Be informed that doctors are not slaves, our Hippocratic oath explains that we owe an obligation to our patients and they owe an obligation to us and our services must be paid for.”

This is the Hippocratic oath that binds doctors all over the world:

‘I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art; and that by my teaching, I will impart a knowledge of this art to my own sons, and to my teacher’s sons, and to disciples bound by an indenture and oath according to the medical laws, and no others. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art. In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all humanity and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my life.’

The original text of the Hippocratic Oath is usually interpreted as one of the first statements of a moral of conduct to be used by doctors. Being a doctor from ages past has always been an honorable profession. The doctors were not usually the wealthiest citizens but they and their families did not suffer untold hardship and they were revered. Many doctors in Nigeria die unsung, unable to provide for their families in their death, from diseases mostly due to medical hazards. Those alive and working can barely make ends meet and cannot substitute financial aid for the time and attention their families are deprived of. So what is a doctor’s reward in Nigeria? Or should we also join the queue for 70 virgins in heaven?

Dr. OF, a doctor working outside Lagos says: “Where I work, I have not gone on leave for 5 years because of the patients. No time to see my parents or siblings, attend burial of friends and relatives and weddings of close friends. I have lost many friends who think that I’m only pretending to be busy meanwhile I see patients every other day that can only be equated to church sessions. Many people cannot sit near a HIV positive patient, but these are the people, whose blood I put hands in everyday during surgery, and their blood splashes into my eyes, mouth and face yet I endure because I won’t abandon them to die. I risk my own life and my family’s life every day to care for others. What I get as hazard allowance monthly is only N5000!!!  If I ask my employer to keep an agreement to help me feed my family, is that too much to ask?”

Dr. B, a Nigerian medical doctor practicing in the US says; “Nigerians need to change their mindset, doctors have lost it all in Naija, from money to respect. The respect and pay of registered nurses (RN) in the US is unthinkable let alone doctors. In many instances you will have to downplay being a doctor because of the attention you get”

Dr. OO had this to say: “We live in a tribal society: ethnic tribes, religious tribes and in this case professional tribe, so I understand why non-doctors would find the fact that doctors should ever have a reason to go on strike repulsive and why doctors would find the lack of understanding from the general populace unbelievable. Like all polarized debates, people are leaning towards their gut instinct, which is hardly objective, but emotionally driven. The doctors’ association needs to get off the emotional debate because trust me statements such as “oh, I work too hard and earn so little” is never going to come out tops against sentiments like “my dad died yesterday because doctors were on strike.”  Looking at it in this manner, it becomes easier to understand why we are losing what Dr. F calls the “PR war” and why we are likely to lose future ones. As a doctor, I know first-hand what it is like to treat patients without light, giving injection drugs in the dark, putting myself at the risk of needle stick injuries far from the watching eyes of the public. I do it because, like the public, I care about your dad not dying even though I know you would never ask if a needle pricked me last night. I remember a particular incidence. We had an emergency, an unconscious pregnant woman with a blood pressure 280/220mmhg (severe hypertension) who was almost at term. She was unbooked and my call was almost over but I was available. Her husband had just 200 Naira on him. We had to operate on her within the next hour with no blood, no money and no drugs. But guess what? We did! That was the first time I had a needle stick injury because NEPA/PHCN was at their norm. Minutes later the air was filled with the cry of a pretty baby girl in the arms of a doting grandmother and father. In the background were the moans of a slowly rousing mother and then there was me with a pensive look on my face while awaiting the results of my HIV test. I was okay. Even though, I had worked overtime and had to be up to make work in the morning which was now 2 hours away, there was no complain, no feeling of accomplishment because in my “tribe” I was not unique. It is the story of 788 and thousands of other people I share a proud profession with. I got a gracious thank you from the family, a thankful smile from the now recuperating mother and a smiling appreciation from my parents when I narrated it to them. So to the “court of public opinion” we don’t just measure remunerations in cash only, we do in kind as well. I am sure I am a thousand “thank you” richer and a million “smiles” wealthier because of the job I do. Now all we are asking is that the LASG should match our generosity with trustworthiness and our patience with understanding.”

Today the punch newspaper announced that doctors in Federal Government Hospitals in Lagos State have begun an indefinite strike.

Dr. K summarizes the doctor’s plight in these words: “Back in the days the next to a nation’s president was the surgeon General…what do we have now? Back in the days doctors used to get accommodation for free or for cheaper prices now doctors are being evicted from the shams they call quarters. Back then you would never want to travel to America after medical school because you were entitled to a car and good pay but now doctors go to even Ghana where circumstances are better for doctors. Back then we had functioning hospitals but now we cancel surgeries week-in week-out because there are no sterile materials, no dependable power supply…”

Dr. T warns: “A government not sensitive to the health of its citizenry is like a walking corpse. Worse of all is the senseless approach to employ rookie doctors to fill in for consultants. I sympathize with the poor people of Lagos state, I pray for the doctors who have always left their families to take care of us despite the harsh conditions, I would advise Governor Fashola to have a rethink and reinstate the sacked doctors.”

There’s no citizen who hasn’t benefitted from health aid provided by a doctor. Doctors have served you tirelessly, thanklessly and in all manner of conditions both safe and extremely dangerous but these doctors are human too and if it has gotten to a stage where a strike is the only way the Government will pay attention to their cry then be angry with an uncaring government, be mad at a government that would frustrate one of the most important sectors of the economy while they fly their families overseas. Be mad at a government that will put the lives of its people in jeopardy. Be mad at a government that callously breaches legal agreements made with its workforce but please do not be mad at the doctors, they are the victims here. When a doctor weeps, his patients weep too…Fashola harden not your heart!

Have a great day people. xoxoxo

 
40 Comments

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Hall of Fame, Health, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Docs of Hazard!

…Daddy I wanna be a doctor when I grow up…

Many a child has uttered that cry as he/she got an epiphany. Some buried those dreams the first time they caught sight of blood gushing from an open wound, others were never given a chance to choose a life beyond medicine and yet for majority of the doctors in Nigeria, it was a life-long dream, which involved years of sweat, toil and tears (6yrs+X for some).
Now one can write about the many benefits of being a doc, from the title to the ‘efizzy’, to the respect, to the ‘god-complex’, to the money (not in Naija), to the certain degree of immunity from the police, to the good karma that arises from helping others, to the high market-value in the dating and marriage market, to the widely open arms parents use to welcome a would-be, doctor-in-law. The list could be longer and however long it takes to achieve this status, for some, it’s to die for. But no one ever talks about the bad…

We doctors have become the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ and here are 10 awful things you should consider before sending your child to medical school…

1. Med school is tough. To even start the race, you have to have been a really brainy kid in secondary school and the work load is structured so that the frail fall by the way-side.
I know a guy who ran mad during his exams in med school. #shocking-but-true! And then there are the strikes that thankfully, have become rare but sometimes keep a kid in school for up to 10 years. There’s also the issue of accreditation which has become a nasty new trend, leaving students hanging for long periods till their schools can get their acts together and sometimes totally interrupting their studies. My friends F and I who are currently doing masters in the UK say after med school, you can basically face any academic challenge or stress that there is. For them, the workload seems a bit too light at the post-graduate level when compared to the hassle of becoming a Nigeria-trained doctor.

2. They will rebel. Many parents think a doctor in the house is a must-have and have grown tired of paying the family doctor, desiring one of their own. While this is a noble thought, forcing people to do what they don’t wanna do is akin to delaying their destinies because one day, many years after, they’ll realise what exactly it is they are supposed to do in life. My friend A started out in med school and dropped out in his second year. Today he is a seasoned DJ and radio/tv presenter studying a business course on the side and says he has finally found fulfilment. My friend T now works in an auditing firm and if she had been allowed to follow her dream from the very beginning, she could have gained 3 years and would have been on a level far above where she is today. I have countless classmates who were forced into med school by their folks and dropped out of the race with alacrity as soon as they obtained the title. According to my friend F, “Daddy here’s the title you always wanted, now can I live my life?”…

3. The risk of infection. Doctors are prone to needle-stick injuries and blood and body-fluid borne infections on the job, HIV and Hepatitis top the list. Some call it carelessness but I tell you that many of these accidents are freaks of nature and some have been both life-altering and life-threatening! A colleague of mine was pricked by a needle she had introduced into a child with HIV when the child jumped suddenly. The mother was supposed to be restraining him and was profusely sorry but sorry doesn’t cut it when you have to take HIV medication for 6 weeks. She can never take back those 6 weeks of her life that she spent sick and vomiting due to the side-effects or the constant anxiety about the probability of testing positive to HIV. Thankfully she tested negative. I also know a male doctor who tested positive to Hepatitis when he was asked to do the test by the church weeks to his wedding… 😦 so many doctors have been paid with a measure of the patient’s illness in return for their services and have learnt the hard way that even if the hospital or government doesn’t put in place measures for personal protection, it is imperative that you protect yourself!

4. Any doctor who has worked in a teaching hospital or community clinic will regale you with tales of how doctors have had to run for dear life even jumping through windows because they failed to perform magic on a badly injured patient and as a result became targets for violently angry and grieving family and friends. It happens quite frequently in teaching hospitals where mortality is the highest because they are the highest point of referral especially those located in poorer neighbourhoods…

5. There was an episode at a hospital some years ago where doctors were robbed and molested sexually at night, while on duty by a gang of hoodlums that attacked the hospital. No one knows for sure if the offenders were brought to book but the memory of the trauma lives on in those doctors’ minds…

6. Doctors are their own enemies. We don’t have a strong enough governing body and many times it is outrageous how the doctors at the top are the very ones standing in the way of progress. A while ago doctors went on strike in a teaching hospital on orders from the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and were fired en masse by the state. Adverts were put out for new doctors and doctors flooded the institution not caring about the events that preceded the jobs becoming available nor the cause for which the other doctors tried to fight. The ARD seemed powerless but thankfully, the governor of the state granted the doctors leniency and recalled them. It was quite amazing that their sack didn’t incite a nationwide revolt. Wasn’t it a worthy cause they fought for? Every man for himself, God for us all… 😦

7. Patient wahala! Sometimes patients can be a handful and I’m not talking about the average run off the mill, disgruntled or stubborn patient. I’m talking big wahala! A female patient being managed for infertility was found to be problem free and the doctor suggested, as is routine, that she bring her husband to the clinic for tests as the fault may not have been hers. The next day an angry man with a raised voice barged into the consulting room accusing the doctor of telling his wife that he was impotent! Now you can imagine the scene that unfolded and there have been far worse scandals…

8. The residency exams. I know people who have failed those exams up to 5 times regardless of the depth of their knowledge on the subject matter all because they failed to satisfy an examiner in an exam which is highly subjective. Exams cost as much as 50k and there are update courses to pay for from our meagre salaries too. Abroad, most exams are objective so you can hardly fail because an examiner thinks you are cocky or thinks it is your right to taste failure in this lifetime!

9. We do not work for the devil! Some patients treat us no better than the devil but in their defence, it should be expected since we constantly deliver bad news. I have grown weary of patients giving testimonies in church that start with; “The doctors said I had…..but my God put them to shame…..”
It is not doctors versus God!!! We also offer hope and look after you, remember? We care but God heals!- Our mantra 😉

10. It has been said that doctors dress horribly and have terrible cars. The salary doesn’t help matters and sometimes a doctor has to do ‘locum’ (part-time job) apart from his main job to keep body and soul together. In other countries, doctors are amongst the highest paid but every time we rise up in protest, the people angrily tell us we earn enough already and should be content as our job is ‘humanitarian’. Humanitarian my foot! I know an elderly doctor who had to beg for 5,000 naira to feed his family because salaries had not been paid. With the above-listed hazards, should this ever occur? He had given almost his entire life to the people, I think it’s time the people gave back!

Most doctors after realising what they signed up for, look for the easiest way out. They try to leave the country but alas, a doctor trained in Nigeria is not readily hired in other countries despite his experience or skill till he has passed myriads of hurdles, exams inclusive and many have returned, after losing years abroad because they were unable to find suitable work.

So peeps, carefully consider these before you decide the life of a doctor is the life for you. I won’t even mention our crazy 24-hour work schedule or how our families suffer as a result because that would be complaining and we knew this was part of the package when we signed up and besides despite everything, I love being a doctor and wouldn’t pick any other life…

Today before you shout at your doctor or act rudely, remember this and realize that we are under-appreciated and a smile and a thank you from you, not to mention your co-operation would go a long way to help us serve you better…

‘Be careful how you treat me because I may be your doctor one day!’ 😉 😉 😉

Have a great weekend peeps, T.G.I.F (though I’m working tomorrow!)….xoxoxo 🙂 🙂

 
11 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Health, Inspirational

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,