Patrick Ali, a 34-year-old Sierra Leonean engineer, came to our attention this past fall. Patrick had suffered a serious cervical spine injury when a tree collapsed on the car he was driving in Freetown, crushing his vertebrae. Simply no neurosurgery care is available in Sierra Leone or any neighbouring countries, and after discussion with KBNF, Patrick was transferred to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital within a couple of weeks. Neurosurgery to stabilize his neck was successful; however, with the significant time lapse, Patrick was challenged with quadriplegia. Through the remarkable efforts of Megan Boyles, Patrick’s loving Canadian fiancé, he attended physiotherapy daily. Strength was returning to his arms and sensation was also improving throughout his body. Unfortunately, pressure sores acquired during his convalescence seriously compromised his rehabilitation and Patrick returned to KBTH Surgical Block for reconstructive surgical intervention in mid-November. After a valiant struggle and much prayer, Patrick Ali quietly slipped away to be with his Lord on January 11th at 6:40 a.m.
Many thanks must go to Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe for her remarkable care for Patrick throughout much of his stay. Providing neuro-radiological expertise freely was wonderful. Also, when Patrick’s sister had to return to Sierra Leone, and Megan had to return to Canada, Jocelyne ensured that Patrick was not alone. Reports of her heading out to market to purchase games they could play together or picking up a foam mattress for him were only the tip of the iceberg. Jocelyne provided Megan precious support and ensured that all of Patrick’s hospital care, funeral and travel arrangements back to Sierra Leone were promptly taken care of.
Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey, our KBNF senior counsellor, along with his daughter, Dr. Hannah Ayettey-Anie beautifully provided pastoral support for Patrick and Megan as well as the arrangements for all of Patrick’s care needs after passing away. Thank you. And for the administrators that provided hospital transportation and visited Patrick, as well as the nurses on Surgical 6 and for the Plastics and Reconstructive physicians, your concern and kindness was so very appreciated.
Appreciation also goes to KBNF Directors Samuel Ampen-Asare for his visits and to Dr. Alfred Lutterodt for his professional attention to Megan’s health needs. And finally, much appreciation is directed towards our KBNF family and friends here in North America, for your tender, loving care, as you gave financially to help with Patrick’s medical expenses and care. That support encouraged Patrick and Megan immeasurably. They were not alone.
In closing, Jocelyne shares: “Keep Patrick’s family and Megan in your prayers. Thank you to you all who have participated in Patrick’s physical and spiritual well being. I firmly believe that this sad experience will move KBNF in a direction that had not been anticipated at this stage, for the benefit of other West African patients like Patrick.”
I too pray that Patrick’s life will serve to inspire a lasting legacy for many years to come.
Marj’s visit to Ghana in late November 2012 got Jocelyne and me involved in a flurry of fruitful ventures. Notable among them was our visit to Techiman and Nsawkaw, two towns located in the upper section of Ghana. The visit was upon the invitation of Dr. Kessie, a great volunteer who had been the proud recipient of a container full of medical equipment from KBNF on the behalf of the Nsawkaw government hospital.
Dr. Kessie, who hosted us, drove us to the Nsawkaw hospital for a firsthand look at how the beds and other donations from KBNF had been utilized. Apart from a few broken beds, most of the equipment was still in use in the hospital. The hospital had also generously donated some of beds to another needy hospital close by.
We had the opportunity of visiting Dr. Kessie’s private hospital as well as his new 100-bed hospital, which is at the final stages of completion. Jocelyne and Marj gave him some general insight about the structure as well as how to get the community behind him in support of his efforts.
Much as he is running a private hospital, its apparent he is also running a charity given the endemic nature of poverty in the area and the high demand for health care. He however serves his community with his heart, and that has greatly endeared him to the people. It is most probable that his new 100-bed hospital might turn out to be the toast of the area in the near future, provided he implements some of the good counsel Marj and Jocelyne have graciously offered him.
Nonetheless, there remains many avenues to touch the heart of the community through generous support to hospitals in that area. It is in the light of this that Dr. Kessie appreciated the suggestion to ship a container of medical supplies to his hospital. He willingly agreed to find the resources to pay for the shipping costs and clear them on arrival in Ghana.
One feature of the visit was a three-hour teaching session of two groups of students in care giving from Dr. Kessie’s school. They received insights into radiology, life-saving basics in health care and some of Danny’s Heart Power lessons. I am convinced that they will long remember their encounter with the two Canadian ladies and a gentleman from KBNF, as much as we ourselves will cherish that memorable visit.
KBNF spearheaded a pillow and pillow cover search for patients at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. We have observed that seldom do patients have pillows and repositioning is very challenging without them. As well, I noticed that patient’s comfort was often at risk. One intensive care patient I observed at Military 37 in June, was intubated and ventilated and yet he did not have a pillow to rest his head on. When a pillow was provided, I could literally see his shoulders relax and his breathing improve.
So why few to no pillows for patients? Apparently, KBTH had pillows long ago, however, with the advent of HIV Aids and when pillows became seriously soiled, they had to be discarded. As a result, families have been required to provide pillows. If there are no families or financial resources, the patient is left with no pillows.
Repositioning and preventing pressure sores is critical to a patient’s wellbeing, so I went on a crusade looking for a solution. Impermeable pillow covers for quality antiallergenic pillows would be the answer.
So while I was in Ghana this past November, Francis, my KBTH driver, along with Samuel Ampen-Asare and I, went on a pillow and pillow cover search. PolyTex Limited graciously donated 300 quality plastic pillow covers for the hospital. Ash-Foam Company then provided KBNF 100 pillows at a significant discount and donated another 50 for the patients at KBTH. KBTH stamped the pillows with their seal and the seamstresses sealed the pillow covers, so that the pillows will be permanently protected and the covers will only need to be wiped down.
The pillows were handed over to KBTH by Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe on December 21st – 60 pillows went to the Medical Block, 40 to the Surgical Block, 30 to the Accident Centre and 20 to the Surgical Medical Emergency. KBNF hopes to multiply the pillow supply many times over in the months and year ahead.
Well done everyone, and thank you for your financial support. The patients will be able to rest much easier now.
I would like to warmly extend congratulations to Samuel Ampen-Asare on his recent appointment to the KBNF Board of Directors.
For those who are not familiar with Samuel, we met him in 2002 when on our inaugural visit to Ghana. He was serving the Canadian High Commission as their Trade Officer. Samuel is multilingual, speaking fluently in several languages, including French and Spanish. He currently serves at the Head of the Human Resources Department for the Electric Company, where they are going through transformational developments (including accountability and performance measurement).
On behalf of the Board, congratulations, Samuel.