Forty seven-year-old widow, Chidimma Obasi, a native of Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, is appealing to the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, Ehime Mbano Local Government Chairman, philanthropic organisations and good spirited Nigerians to save her life.
For the past eight years, the mother of two who lost her husband some 22 years ago, when her first child was only four has been battling with a hole inside her stomach, medically known as incisional hernia.
Incisional hernia is a medical condition where the stomach is opened from inside forcing the intestines to surge out. It is characterised by loss of appetite and excruciating pains. The pains, according to the poor widow, would start from morning and run through the night. It could last for weeks or even months depending on its response to the administered drugs. “There is no kind of pain relief medicine that I don’t have,” she said.
That is what Mrs. Obasi has been going through for the past eight years. This has resulted in eight different surgeries at different hospitals. Unfortunately, six months after each operation, the stomach would burst open again with its attendant pains.
Her problem started in January 2013 after she was diagnosed with the ailment. She first visited St. Joseph’s Hospital, Okwelle in Imo State, where she went through four different surgeries. The fourth surgery damaged her bladder and resulted in Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF); an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence. This forced her to start wearing diapers like babies because her bladder could no longer retain urine. She needed diapers to control the constant outflow of urine from her system.
When she went back to the hospital, she was referred to the VVF section of the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, where she underwent corrective surgery to repair the damaged bladder. The surgery was successful and she stopped wearing pampers since she could urinate normally again.
Mrs. Obasi’s problem was far from being over as her stomach started swelling up shortly afterwards. “It protruded to a point where I could not bear the pains any longer; I was shouting like a mad dog. I went back to St Joseph’s Hospital, Okwelle, to complain to the doctor what I was passing through after the corrective surgery. I went through another test and scan and the result showed the stomach had burst open again. The doctor then told me that he could no longer handle the case as my tummy had become so weak that no doctor in Nigeria could handle it. He told me it could only be handled in India or Europe. He also told me that any doctor in Nigeria who said he could handle it only wants to take my money,” he narrated.
Although her doctor decided it was time to tell her the truth so she could face reality, she didn’t believe him. She thought the doctor only said that because he was tired of her case. She never knew he was telling her the truth.
Ignoring her doctor’s advice, she approached another private hospital, Bibath Hospital, still in Imo State, where fresh tests and scans were conducted. She was assured that a surgery would take care of the situation. Unfortunately, six months after the surgery, her stomach opened again and the intestines surged out as usual. Amidst pains, she went back to the hospital and she was told that that portion of her body had become so weak and that nothing could be done again.
Determined to be on her feet again, she still went to Orlu General Hospital in Imo State, where she was rejected out rightly. She was told that her case could not be handled there since she had had five surgeries for the same ailment. “They feared that carrying out another surgery on me could lead to my death,” she said.
However, she did not give up hope as she went to another private hospital, Osas Hospital, at Ayaofu in Orlu, Imo State, where another surgery was performed on her. “After six months, the whole thing broke down again, throwing me into another round of pains. It was at this point that my children asked me to come back to Lagos so that we could try the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and see what would happen,” she stated.
When she got to LUTH, she explained her medical history to the Consultant, Dr. Balogun, who promised her that LUTH would handle it. “He said they were going to use what he called polyene mesh to seal the space and prevent it from opening up again. Surprisingly, the thing broke down right there in the hospital and the stomach burst open again. The stomach remained open for one year, bringing out pus and water throughout the period. They kept cleaning and dressing it for one year. They said the mesh got infected and that was why it was pushing out water and pus. They had to do another surgery to remove the mesh so as to stop the water and pus from coming out and also enable it to heal. So, that operation was done about four months ago,” she narrated.
With the failure of the last operation, doctors at LUTH advised her to seek medical assistance abroad, either in India or any of the European countries, as they could not understand what was happening again.
However, the eight surgeries did not come cheap as she had spent over N5Million so far. Some of the surgeries cost N500,000 each while others cost N700,000. “This last one at LUTH cost me a little above N500,000,” she added. So, when you add the drugs and miscellaneous expenses, you would realise that she had actually spent over N6Million
As a successful businesswoman, she never depended on anybody to feed her two beautiful daughters since her husband’s death but the ailment has reduced her to almost a pauper, living on people’s financial assistance.
For the last eight years, she never bothered anybody but this time around, she really needs Nigerians to come to her aid since the ailment had grown bigger than what she and her children could handle alone. “Everybody except God has abandoned me. My brothers, sisters, friends, and in-laws have all abandoned me. They said I will die. I am only living by the grace of God. Please, come and save me. Remember that when you save a soul, you have a reward in heaven. I know that you people can do it. Please save me and my children. I am looking up to your financial assistance,” she pleaded.
Her first daughter, 26-year-old Chinenye Obasi also said it has not been easy for them and called all philanthropic and good spirited Nigerians to come to their aid.
All financial assistance should be made to the following account: Account name: Obasi Sandra Chinasa, Account number: 2092090358; Bank: UBA. (Phone number: 08036796936).