‘Hos­pi­tals can’t han­dle heart at­tack even with three days no­tice’

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - By Judd-Leonard Okafor

Dr John Ok­ereke, who led a sur­gi­cal team in per­form­ing eight car­diac surg­eries at Garki Hospi­tal, says the level of heart surgery in Nige­ria is so bad that most hos­pi­tals would be un­pre­pared to han­dle a heart at­tack pa­tient even with three days prior no­tice.

US-based Ok­ereke told a brief­ing at the end of the lat­est round of car­diac surg­eries at the hospi­tal that in Hous­ton, if the am­bu­lance calls them on a heart at­tack case, the pa­tient is in op­er­at­ing room within 30 min­utes.

“The sur­geon, the anes­thetist stand­ing over you are Nige­ri­ans. If they can do it there, why can’t they do it here? The only dif­fer­ence is at­ti­tude. That’s how bad our ser­vices are and a lot of Nige­ri­ans are dy­ing of heart dis­ease,” he said.

An all-Nige­rian sur­gi­cal team, in­clud­ing lo­cal sur­geons and for­eign-based work­ers, worked to fix holes in the heart of one pa­tient, re­place faulty valves with me­chan­i­cal valves in three pa­tients, by­pass a block­age in an­other pa­tient and open nar­row exit valves in an­other.

Dr Ibrahim Wada, med­i­cal ad­viser for the Nisa-Garki group, said the cen­tre will demon­strate that it is work­able to high in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, train oth­ers to do it, and hope­fully while achiev­ing it, the gov­ern­ment will no­tice what is hap­pen­ing.

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