I was going to write about deep vein thrombosis. This is blood clot in the veins, especially in the leg, that can travel to the lungs and cause sudden death. The article touched on this a little bit. I wanted to ask those travelling long distances to places, such as the United States of America, China and India, to be aware of this killer and to ensure that they actively protect themselves against it.
However, you have to wait till next week for the article. There is something very important to talk about this week. Yes, it is even more important than blood clots in the legs of travelers!
I heard that doctors in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, went on strike to protest the continued kidnapping of physicians in the state. This was a very timely and a decisive tactic seeking to draw the attention of the public and the government to the growing menace.
A female doctor, Dr. I. B. Apriokor, who works with the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, in Port Harcourt, was kidnapped by gunmen on her way to church.
The only neurologist at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Obiabo Yahaya, was also abducted by gunmen who trailed him to his house. He was said to have been kidnapped at about 8:30 pm while trying to enter his compound.
Also, three doctors on a medical mission were kidnapped in Imo State. It was reported that the three medical doctors had hardly arrived at their operational base at the Isu Local Government Area, when they were forcefully stopped by suspected kidnappers and taken away at gunpoint.
What planet are we on?
For God’s sake, how stupid can it get? What is going on in God’s-own-country? What fools see doctors, humanitarians, as targets for kidnapping? Doctors have been kidnapped in almost all the 36 states of the federation and very little has been done by the government to check the trend. Do we know the number of those that have kidnapped? Is someone keeping count? What is going on here? Sorry, but this is not normal.
Doctors do not question who you are. It does not matter if you are poor or rich, male or female, God-fearing or a criminal. We are sworn to treat everyone and give the best care, regardless of your ethnic origin or religious affiliation. Doctors swear an oath, which affirms that they are valuable members of the society and they are blessed with special obligations to all fellow human beings. They help to preserve lives and heal the sick so that they can experience the joy of healing those who seek their help. They are asked not to violate the oath so they can be respected while alive and remembered with affection thereafter, not sent to the thereafter by kidnappers!
Biting the hand that feeds
You cannot traumatise the same doctors, making them wary of all who come before them and, therefore, distracted from providing the care required. Doctors are slowly becoming endangered species and difficult to find on the streets of Port Harcourt, Owerri and Akure. Perhaps, we need armed rangers and a fenced enclosure to keep the numbers of doctors from dwindling to zero!
Doctors are now difficult to identify as they strip their cars of all stickers saying, ‘Doctor’ or make any reference to the Nigeria Medical Association. Many of them are now wary of going out late in the evening for fear of being targeted by kidnappers. So, if you are going to be sick, ensure that it is between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm in the evening.
Doctors also have to protect themselves from attacks in the clinic and hospital. Perhaps, it is time to have massive gates and security in the hospital. Before anyone is admitted, they have to show their wounds, pregnancy with the baby’s head about to drop or evidence of loose stool at the gates. We could have a closed circuit camera at the gates for history taking and even teach the security man how to take blood pressure and temperature. Only those with deranged blood tests to be allowed into the hospital and, even then, the doctor will only appear after more verification of a real life situation.
Action stations please
One begins to wonder why the law enforcement agencies are not doing something about this development. The police in Imo State asked all public-spirited individuals and community leaders to come up with useful information that would help to bust this and other criminal activities in the state.
While this is important, the police authorities must actively cultivate and develop an intelligence gathering system and share information with other units throughout the country. They use modern technology and the teeming population of unemployed youths currently roaming the streets as informants and pay them for services rendered. There should be no hiding place for kidnappers in Nigeria.
Doctors need protection from these criminals and the Federal Government must wake up to its responsibility of protecting all citizens.