Friday, October 4, 2013


My friend and fellow blogger Michael Walker, over at Defying Procrastination shared a story about his friend Kristin with me which I think I should share:

In August 2013, Kristin found a lump in her left breast. Since then her cancer has been upgraded to Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (1.9cm tumor + 1.1 cm satellite tumor) with HER2neu+ (Grade 3).... an aggressive form of Cancer that has invaded her lymph nodes. Kristin has a wonderful husband Wesley and two children Logan (13) and Skye (7), so her whole family is feeling the invasion of this horrible disease. This year will be quite a journey for her and she is feeling terribly scared but hopeful.

In her honor, Michael has relaunched his ebook, "Her Special Day Shoes," as a dedication to Kristin. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to assist Kristin with her personal battle with breast cancer and to a National Breast Cancer Foundation account in her name - forever. Michael has added a few extra stories to the 2nd Edition version, as well as, a special dedication to her in the book. HER SPECIAL DAY SHOES

He has also made a video for her SEE VIDEO

I think this is a noble gesture and one we should all support.

I will, in my own little way, what about you?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Please kindly help me vote my entry in this flash fiction competition and also share for your readers to vote. Thank you (Dr Erhumu) SILENT WITNESS

Thursday, September 19, 2013


It started as a simple reply to a tweet: "If you could be a teenager again would you be?"
And my reply?: "Yes, if I would be handed my degree at 21 without reading."
I went further to say this:" Wouldn't go through med school again even if I was given a million dollars." This sparked some reactions, my friend @StNaija replied he would go through medical school again twice! if he was given a million dollars. He went further to ask this important question:

"People,Do you know what N165 M (165 million naira or 1 million dollars)can do?
This got me thinking and I decided to do some research; from straight I got this:


1. 1 million dollars in $100 bills is 10,000 bills, a bill is 0.010922 cm in thickness. That would be 109.2cm.That would be a stack of bills about 3 and a half feet high.

2. $1m is about 696,500 Euros, if they gave that to you in 500 Euro notes, it would be 1393 notes, when stacked, it would be under 6 inches.

3. $1m in $100 dollar bills would fit into a normal grocery bag.

So, I carried my research further:


The answer from Wiki is about 27 years. Wow, tempting!


1. It would cost you at least 7 years of your life.

2. If there are strikes in between you may do about 9 or 10 years.

3. You need to have a high JAMB score to be admitted or else you would be given some other courses like soil science.

4. Out of 100 people that start a class, about 60 would become doctors, the remaining 40, well....

5. If you fail any course in your first year, you would be asked to leave medicine.

6. If you fail in your third year, you can repeat the class, if you fail again, you may be asked to leave medicine.

7. When in clinicals, you may pass your written exams but fail the whole exam if you displease your clinical examiner, a situation known as "FAILED CLINICALS".

8. With two repeats you may be asked to leave medical school.

9. You are deemed to have passed only when you "satisfy the examiners". Thus an examiner can "sit" on your pass.

10. People have been known to spend up to 13 years in med school.

11. There is always a life determining exam before you; you eat, drink, play with this threat over you.

12. When you finally become a doctor, you have to scour the length and breadth of Nigeria (on your parents money) to find a place to do your housemanship.

13. Your salary for the first 5 years after you graduate won't be enough to buy you a brand new car or a house.

So when I think of putting at least 14 years of my life (medical school twice) to get 1 million dollars, you can guess my reply.

If you were me, what would you do?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


So, where were we?
Ah! Yes, I remember.

So, now you have been adequately debriefed, a few further things to note about processes:

What did you say? You call to make appointments with your doctor? For real? Hahaha, but seriously, why would you do that when you can easily stroll into our public hospitals and get an appointment. Yes, I said stroll. You would get the appointment immediately - to see the doctor in six months to one year's time. Why are you surprised? Don't you know that the ratio of Doctors to patients in Nigeria is about 1 doctor to 3500 patients

Your records are very safe with us, you have nothing to fear. Why do you look sceptical?Alright come with me and take a look - come into this room - what's that in your hair, cobwebs? sorry about that. Look at that tower of files over there with papers sticking out and falling off, those are the files. Where are the computers? That is one over there, but please be careful not to close the records officer's facebook page.

Do we have health insurance and free health care? Yes we do. I'm sure you have heard all the jingles on the radio. It's actually free for you to get registered and obtain a file number. What else were you expecting? Isn't that free enough?

Urgent tests are treated urgently, we don't play with that. Once the technician resumes tomorrow morning, your test will be done urgently.

We run a world class referral system; all our hospitals work together, we all know each other's addresses, when we can't handle a problem, we will send to another hospital, from where you would be sent to another hospital, from there, you would still be sent to another hospital...


Sunday, September 8, 2013


Welcome dear foreigner, I do hope you had a nice flight, I believe you were courteously treated by our immigration officials at the airport, and your pocket is in the same state it was when you left the shores of your country.

I hear you would like to see a doctor in one of our distinguished and world class hospitals? No problem, here are some things you should know - sorry, before doing that, I need to debrief you and clean your brain from some of the things you are used to:


You remember that atmosphere of tranquillity and feeling of peace you get when you visit your hospitals? Well, scratch that and think of a market scene - Oh come off it! I said market not mall; you still don't know what a market scene is like? Alright, google "Idumota market". You've done that? Great! What's that look I see on your face?


By clean you mean spotless floors you can eat from? Beds that are well maintained? Clean sheets etc? Well, you can actually eat from our floors, just take these four pills after you do, but please don't ask to use the toilet.


You know the hospital help desk with a smiling lady that answers all your questions patiently? Well, I would simply advice you wear comfortable shoes when you come to our hospital because you would do a fair amount of walking. From the gate you may be directed to walk straight down and turn left then ask whoever you see. When you've done that, the person you meet will tell you to turn right and walk straight down and ask the person you see; that person will tell you you missed a turn, go back and turn left. Well, you get the picture now?


So you're sobbing and don't know what to do or who to see? Well, can you go sob in that corner? I don't want the doctor to be distracted when he sees me, after all, I've been here for two hours and you're only just arriving.


You have a complaint about me? You want to see my boss? Fair enough, that's his office over there. When you get there, do say hello to him and tell him he forgot his wristwatch at our club yesterday.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


(A doctor's point of view)

This is actually the second time I would be talking about Nollywood, read the first humorous article here

The other night, my attention was drawn to a Nollywood (Nigerian) or is it Ghollywood (Ghanaian)film featuring Jackie Apiah and Majid-Michel, a very touching story with a great story line, let me recount the story:

An artist (Majid) was in love with a woman (Jackie) who he had been having dreams about that she was going to die very soon; Jackie in real life had an enlarged heart and had about 72 hours to live except she had a heart transplant.

In one of Majid's dreams, Jackie had to be rushed to the hospital near dead; the doctor performed CPR (cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)on her, but all to no avail and Jackie died( this was in the dream).

Majid was in an inconsolable state because he was sure Jackie would soon die - his mother tried all her best to get him out of this mood but she was helpless.

Due to her love for her son, the mother wrote a suicide note, took a blade and killed herself in the hospital, instructing the doctor to use her heart for the transplant - so Jackie got a new heart. Let me stop there for now.

Lovely story, nice acting but...poor medical research

1. An enlarged heart, a condition known as cardiomegaly usually implies a failing heart; with a failing heart goes such manifestations as easy tiredness , breathlessness and leg swelling. The typical patient would get tired after taking just a few steps, having to pause frequently to catch her breath, and would be very breathless finding it difficult to hold a conversation. However, Jackie in the movie showed no sign of any of these - she wore the best clothes, did the best makeup, went places and had meetings by herself and even had time to visit her boyfriend Majid in his house - yet she had 72 hours to live!

2. In the scene where the doctor performed CPR on Jackie; he had his hands around or close to her neck and collar - no wonder she died! When performing CPR, the chest compressions are done with the hands placed on the breast bone in the center of the chest. NOT AROUND/ NEAR THE NECK OR COLLAR.

3. The mother killed herself and donated her heart - how touching *insert sob* but some questions come to mind:

I Do you just donate your heart without any compatibility test being done? If the donor heart is not compatible, the poor mum committed suicide in vain.

II. A more likely and compatible donor would have been the girl's grandma who was featured prominently throughout the film, but the thought never crossed Grandma's mind.

4. And the Doctor performed the operation: I didn't know we were so advanced that only ONE doctor can successfully perform a heart transpant! He must have five arms and legs. Another question, have there been any successful heart transplants done in this part of the world?

I would be looking out for more medical scenes in Nollywood films to critique until they start asking for appropriate medical input when writing medical scenes.

By the way, the title of the film is "Who Loves me" (Free advert).

Image courtesy Google

Saturday, March 30, 2013

When Spouse Beaters lie to Doctors

In the course of a couple of weeks I have come across two cases of spouse beating; one not too severe, the other fatal. And no, I'm not talking about Oscar Pistorius, the olympic athlete.

The first case was a mild drama - A distraught man brought his wife in, saying she had slumped. He was obviously very shaken as he didn't have time to wear his shoes; he bounded up and down the hospital corridor in an anxious frenzy.

His story: she was feeding their kid and just slumped and became unconscious - just like that. No medical issues nothing.
I looked at her again, there was something wrong about the whole picture before me and something prompted me to ask whether they'd been having issues, he replied in the negative.

Like the... erm... *coughs*... wise doctor I am, I asked the husband to get some things for his wife.

After he left, I turned to the wife. It took a few moments before what I expected to happen happened. Even when it did, I felt a little chill but I kept my composure.

The "unconscious" wife opened her eyes and grinned.

I remained as cool as cucumber. Then she quickly told her story.

Her husband had hit her. It had never happened before and she didn't want it to happen again, and the only way she could think of stopping the beating was to "collapse". She wanted her husband to be remorseful and not beat her anymore, she begged me to use my... erm... *coughs*... wisdom to ensure this. Let me stop there.

I read about the second case in a popular online gossip magazine and I realised it was the same patient I had certified dead sometime back.
She was a beautiful girl in her twenties brought in by a police man, her boyfriend had reported that she slumped after complaining of abdominal pains. I saw her in the vehicle, she was already dead. Curious to note, there were bruises around her neck and face.

Heard the boyfriend was arrested. Draw your own conclusions.

Image courtesy

Friday, March 29, 2013


I call it the immortality complex.

That daring inside most of us in the face of common sense that says though it happens to others it can't happen to me.

Sometimes, it is not that we want to be daredevils, sometimes, it is just a feeling of helplessness or frustration that brings out that "immortality complex".

Examples include a diabetic with a very high blood sugar saying "I'm okay, I feel great, nothing can happen to me if I take this highly sugary drink" - then it happens.
Or a person with a very high blood pressure that refuses to take any drugs because he feels "just fine" - until it happens.

Or in this instance between Ronald and Stanley(not real names):

Ronald is a known asthmatic, he goes visiting Stanley and they share some alcohol together. But Ronald is not satisfied - he brings out his cigarette, " I have to take a puff" he says to Stanley.

Stanley pleads with Ronald not to smoke, at least they'd had some alcohol, that should be enough. Ronald doesn't heed Stanley's advice, he goes on to bring out his cigarette and lights it.
He only takes some drags.
Then it happened...

Ronald suddenly couldn't breathe.
He had developed a sudden asthmatic attack precipitated by the cigarette smoke - Ronald fumbled for his inhaler - there was no improvement.

Stanley frantically got his car and rushed Ronald to the hospital.
By this time, Ronald was already gasping.
In the confusion that ensued, Ronald hit his head and cut it while Stanley was struggling through traffic.
They eventually got to the hospital with Ronald gasping and covered in his own blood.

He died a few minutes later.

Stanley was now confronted with the unpleasant task of calling Ronald's relatives and finding a way to inform them that Ronald who came to visit him would never be returning home.

Monday, March 18, 2013


What better way to come back from a long writing hiatus than with a controversial post. I have a little story.

Once upon a time:

A female doctor would walk into the hospital looking all fresh, a faint waft of her perfume filling the hospital corridor with a heavenly fragrance. Her make up, classy but not flamboyant. Her hair neatly packed in place, not a strand astray. Her white coat flawless and glimmering like it was washed in Cinderella world; her shoes going "koi koi" as she walked along the hospital corridor with every one gazing at her in admiration - she had a smile for them too - that was then.

The picture I see now:
A harried mother of two rushes into the hospital, her shopping bag in one hand, her stethoscope in another; her hair - flying in all directions of the compass, her white coat - Did I say white? No, I meant her cream coat, hanging loosely on her body. Don't bother to look at her shoes because she just grabbed whatever was closest to her feet while rushing to work. She has no smile for you and doesn't really care if you admire her or not.

What happened?
Are they no longer fashion conscious?
Is medicine no longer exciting?
Are their responsibilities too much these days?
Are they no longer well paid?
Is there no more time?
Am I just being biased?

Finally, if you work in the health sector, has anybody walked up to you and said to you, " Hey, I admire that female doctor"?

While I hide under a bomb shelter, do you agree with me?

Image: Elite model

Thursday, January 17, 2013


It was a day for lumps.

The first patient was a 50 year old woman, she'd had a swelling close to her armpit for about two years and didn't bother about it because, as she checked, it wasn't in the "breast", so there was nothing to worry about.

Until she started having pains and weakness on the right side of her body - then she came to the hospital (two years after seeing the lump).

I examined her.

I could understand why she thought the lump was not in her breast, it was in the upper outer and lateral border of her chest ( breast) - it was a breast lump, and from what I felt, it was likely to be a malignant tumor .

"I think it's a tumor," she said. I didn't know how to reply, my initial silence betrayed me.

Patient two was a younger lady who heard/ knew about a person with a breast lump, so she set out to look for her own lump - and she found it , nestled in the mid upper portion of her right breast. Hers was just about 7 days old, it wasn't likely to be cancerous from the features.

Moral of the story: Breast self examination could save your life, and if you are not sure of what you're feeling, see a professional. Have you done yours?


DAY 2: How Will I know I have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Why all this fuss about PID? What is the big deal about it? It is important because it can lead to infertility or damage to a woman'...