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Opinions Wed, 13 Nov 2013

An Intricately Excruciating Death of a Ghanaian

.... due to Witchcraft, "Abibiduro" and the Nonchalance of Ghana Medical Doctors ? To start with, readers must note that this is a true story. However, out of respect for the dead and the bereaved family, I shall withhold all names that otherwise would have been mentioned. ? ? A Ghanaian that I know very well has just passed on Friday, 8 November 2013 at 13:00. He was about 57 years and the body currently taken to the morgue. He died a very excruciating death, having suffered a long agonizing illness that in the end immobilized him, ballooning his body. ? ? To continue, his mother’s female siblings had always been querying publicly why unlike theirs, his mum’s children are not dying? Death is scary. Death is abhorred. Nobody would want to die if we had the choice but we haven’t. Why would they wish their younger sister’s children also to die but not theirs alone? They have always made their views clearer to their sister and her children. Is this not malevolence bordering on witchcraft? Are they directly confronting their younger sister who has about ten children, accusing her of spiritually having a hand in their children’s death? ? ? There happened that the deceased person’s elder brother, the son of one of her mother’s sisters who died many years ago, arrived in Ghana from the United States on holiday. If it was in England or America, we would call him a cousin instead of brother. However, the Akan tradition and culture require us to see the children of our mother’s female siblings as our brothers and sisters. He discovered that the family house (abusua fie) has no decent toilet. He therefore, gave the deceased money to convert one of the small rooms earmarked initially for toilet into a decent toilet for the family use. ? ? When he went to start it as directed, he found one of her mum’s eldest sisters using the room to stock her firewood. She asked her to move the firewood elsewhere as he had come to start the toilet as agreed. The woman refused and questioned him if he lives in the house with them? He used to live there but had moved into his own blood brother’s house not far away. As he moved the firewood, the woman would move them back into the room. Incensed as he had become because of the woman’s actions, he said, "It is for these actions of yours that your daughter (name withheld) says, you are a witch". ? ? The woman became furious, phoned up her daughter in Kumasi and asked if he had told (name withheld), the deceased, that she is a witch? The daughter called the deceased, fought him on the phone, and never spoke to him again. Lest I forget, the woman told him, "if I am a witch as you have alleged, then you shall see". ? ? The deceased while alive was diabetic and was prescribed to inject himself with insulin twice a day. He had done it for years without fail. However, he decided to stop it to rather take after traditional herbs for four months to cure his diabetes without anyone knowing. It only surfaced or became public after four months, when advising his brother abroad to allow him send him (his brother abroad) some of the herbs to treat his similar illness. ? ? He was questioned why and how he came by the herbs and if he had sought medical advice before abandoning the use of the insulin for the herbal medicine? He had taken the traditional medicine on his own upon the advice of a friend without alerting his doctors. ? ? The use of the herbal medicine certainly set in some complications of its own. He could not urinate on his own. He was taken to hospital for a urinary catheter to be inserted into his urinary bladder through his urethra. This tube inserted in his manhood was to assist with emptying the urine from his urinary bladder. The catheter was to help him manage urinary incontinence problems he was encountering. ? ? ? However, it was not properly done and so could not perform the anticipated function. It took time for the Doctors to have it removed. Soon after, he could not urinate. For days or weeks, he would be struggling to urinate. His scrotum started bloating to the size of a mini football. His lower abdomen started swelling. He was in pains and would scream and weep all day and all night long. Sleep evaded him because of the terrible pains that had become his daily portion. ? ? Whenever he was taken to hospital, the Doctors would prescribe him medication (tablets) to take to help him urinate. They would give him an appoint in two months time. Nonetheless, the medication could not work as anticipated. At times when he went back to attend the appoint, the Specialist Doctor would not turn up. In a nutshell, the Doctors kept on prescribing medication upon medication with such long interval appointments but all to no avail. ? ? He could not wear underwear because of the size of his swollen scrotum. He could hardly sit in cars or on bus when attending hospital appointments. He had to struggle to attend Doctor’s appointments in Kumasi. One day, after struggling to do a few miles on foot, having first collected his medical examination report from one clinic to take to his Doctor at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, he was five minutes late. The doctor refused to see him upon all his explanations and pleas to the contrary, knowing very well his condition. ? ? If the doctors had taken good care of him, referring him for admission or giving him shorter hospital appointments, he may be alive today. The doctors were generally nonchalant and did not value his life, I can conclude. Somebody who could not urinate for days and weeks was for almost one year not attended to properly as he would were he in say, the United Kingdom, France or Germany. The longer he could not urinate, the more it affected his kidneys both of which collapsed, resulting in further health complications to him that in the end killed him. ? ? On the day of his funeral which is yet to be fixed by the family, certainly, those who wanted the death of his mum’s children will be there to shed crocodile tears. As if they have come to mourn the dead, inwardly, they will be happy that their heart desire has come to pass. ? ? What is shedding crocodile tears, one may ask? "Crocodile tears (or superficial sympathy) are a false or insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief" Supposedly, when crocodiles swallow large chunks of meat, their eyes water -- thus, people started saying they cried when they ate you!" ? ? His death could be a mere co-incidence but many a familiar person aware of the behaviour of his mother’s sisters and that of the woman about the toilet will blame it on them. If they really caused his death, could it have happened by the practice of witchcraft? ? ? Finally, patients should not resort to the use of traditional medicine (herbal medicine) as and when they choose. Most of the herbal medicines are suspect. Their efficacies are not as the sellers or traditional doctors make us believe. Many crooks are into the manufacture and sale of herbal medicines. The advertising of herbal drugs by the numerous FM radio stations in Ghana must be controlled. I believe if he had continued with his insulin intake, he may be alive today. ? ? What ended his life so cruelly? Was it witchcraft, the malevolence by his mum’s sisters, the herbal medicine or the nonchalance of the medical doctors as said above? I cannot tell owing to the intricacies surrounding his death as narrated above. ? ? To this Ghanaian in mind, I say," Damirefa due. Due, due ne amanehunu". May his soul rest peacefully in the bosom of God Almighty. Amen. ? ? Rockson Adofo ? ?

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson