Gladys Ahaneku, wife of the immediate past vice chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state (UNIZIK), Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, has said that her worst experiences as a doctor were situations of having full knowledge of patients’ ailments but being medically incapacitated to find solutions.
She said such experiences were more heartbreaking when the dying patients were disappointed after looking up to the helpless doctor for intervention.
Ahaneku spoke at the 90th inaugural lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka while delivering a lecture on “The Human Heart: A Workaholic with Numerous Saboteurs.”
Narrating her bitter experience years back with a 19-year-old man with Marfan syndrome, Ahaneku, a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist, regretted how she lost the patient out of socio-cultural problems despite her efforts to save his life.
She said: “The secondary school leaver was in an apparent state of stable health until he woke up one night to urinate and returned to bed with chest pain, progressive weakness, and breathlessness.
“He was brought to the hospital the next day and I was called to review him. I confirmed he had Marfan’s syndrome (a congenital condition) with an aneurysm of his aorta which ruptured and was bleeding internally.”
Ahaneku said the mother, who was advised to take the son to a center where surgical intervention could be given as a survival chance was unable to meet up due to financial constraints.
“The next day I returned to see the patient at the accident and emergency unit, he looked at me and in tears said, “Doctor, please do not allow me to die!”
“I left with very deep concern and made up my mind to help him with the surgery even if it meant going plate-in-hand to beg for money on his behalf.
Ahaneku, however, said she was disappointed when the mother turned down her philanthropy, an action that led to the eventual death of the son.
According to her, the woman who confessed she had the son before marriage, said she could not afford to go to the Abuja hospital to be with the ailing son, as anything that would take him away from Anambra would generate quarrels with the husband.
Earlier, the vice-chancellor of the institution, Prof. Charles Esimone described the topic as timely and indispensable, saying the inaugural lecture was an opportunity for the town to understand and appreciate the activities of the gown as well as its influences on the town.
He praised the Inaugural lecture committee, headed by Prof. Richard Uwakwe for their doggedness and innovations, which he said had not only increased the online audience but contributed to the institution’s boosting ranking, from 34th to 4th position in Nigeria.