The Stethoscope

We are 60!

We know, we know!
Nigeria will be 60 years since independence: in a few weeks’ time.
Yes, we know that.
But, we are not talking about that overgrown baby!

We are at 60!
We recently clocked 60 successful and maybe sprinkled with a few perhaps not all that successful operations at the Brain and Spine Surgery hospital in Abuja (BASS). We have done 60 operations under and around the covid-19 pandemic: so far in horrible year 2020. We certainly think this is an achievement and worth celebrating.

After all, if Nigeria can find something to celebrate, despite the poverty, unemployment, massive insecurity, deaths and disability and, ‘alooter continua’, so can we.

Our chief celebrant is a 31-year-old from Calabar who came for medical tourism to Abuja (for spine surgery). She had suffered from severe back and leg pains for years. Many months have been spent crying with pain and depression wondering which way to go.

The pains were caused by arthritis in the back.
You see, one of the shock absorbers in her back had worn out and the joints had become swollen. This was causing massive back pain and with pressure on the nerves, sharp pains radiating down the leg. Yes, she did physiotherapy and swallowed tons of drugs including Celebrex, Arthrotec, Lyrica, Pregabalin and yes, you name it!

What do you do when you have tried everything else? When you are pushed to the wall and feel the whole world is caving in? And you have genuinely tried your best?

No, we are not talking about the government. But, yes, they can make life a little better for Nigerians by listening to the cries and woes of the long suffering public. After all, you would think they have the skills to run the country effectively! Without resorting to teargas and beating innocent people.

Sorry, we digressed, again!
However, you come to BASS and ask for a consultation! We certainly have the skills to offer advice and treatment for brain and spine diseases. We saw her way before covid-19 hit the shores of Nigeria and offered surgical intervention. The shock absorber needed to be replaced and the spine aligned. We also planned to put in some screws to hold the back together, stop the abnormal movement, creaking noises and the back pain.

Oh, yes, she was scared!
She was scared and went away to talk to friends and family and even the ubiquitous clueless and meddling pastor! Many people are genuinely scared of spine operations and many are suffering in silence. Many stories abound of people being maimed or killed following spine surgery. Some also have to redo the operation for one or another reason. So, it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

That is why we focus on this as a specialty. We operate on the brain and spine and only the brain and spine. We leverage on all our good people and the required equipment to provide a safe environment for Nigerians.

If only the government can do the same!
Any way back to our celebrant and celebrations. Yes, she was scared but we allowed her relative to come into theatre with us. We are so confident in our ability to provide safe and successful operations we do not mind photographs and videos as we operate. It improves confidence and helps to counter the negative narratives about spine surgery in Nigeria.

We have something worth celebrating in Nigeria. Huge potentials, untapped natural and human resources and an ability to weather all storms. Nigerians are resourceful and resilient people who just need a level playing ground and a platform to excel.

We have created such an environment at BASS. A warm comfortable hospital that removes fear and anxiety as we strive to deliver quality service and great outcomes.

Definitely worth breaking the Champagne bottle!

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