For many years, anyway more since I started practicing as a medical doctor in the last 6 years, I have tried to decipher the reasons behind late presentation to the hospital in Nigeria. Most of the time, it boils to poverty, corruption, malpractices even illiteracy. There is even a saying that goes "illiteracy is a disease which a doctor cannot cure. Today I decided to add ignorance to the list and to state that ignorance is actually a disease and is no excuse.
Just as I was about to close for the day, the emergency room nurse rushed into my consulting shouting "we have an emergency!!!.... I took a deep calming breathe and asked what the matter was. "A child is bleeding from the nose" was the reply. I immediately got up already thinking of the possible causes of bleeding from the nostrils in a child. I got to the scene and behold! it was an 8-day old baby. The baby was not just bleeding from the nose, he was jaundiced (yellowish) from head to toe and gasping for air.
The father was worried alright but guess what? he was also concerned that today they are supposed to be naming the child and now they are in the hospital. When asked if he didn't notice the yellowness of the eyes? He admitted to have seen it, it has been present since the birth of the child and they'd gone to a clinic where some oral medications were given and besides they were too busy preparing for the naming ceremony to bother about it. You know what I think happened? I'm guessing they were either offered admission or a referral to a higher centre for phototherapy and they declined hoping somehow it would work out. I see it everyday in the hospital and most times they come back in a day or two much worse.
It pained me to see the child suffering like that because of his parents ignorance. He may have only a 20-30% chance of survival. Let's all put him in our prayers. Would you believe that it was the mother's sister that initiated the trip to the hospital? Unbelievable!! The parents didn't even know their blood groups. So dear friends and readers, I'm not saying doctors know it all but if you decided to ask for help from someone you think knows a little more than you in a particular field, take the advice and if unconvinced, seek help from someone else. You'll find the help you need. Like they say in Nigeria "follow who know road, make you for no lost" meaning follow he who knows the way and you won't get missing.