By Emmanuel Iheaka
He is at the moment companioned by anguish, sorrow and sense of helplessness. For 25-year old Jonadab Onuchukwu, life has turned sour. And the sum of N15 million can restore the sweet taste of life, at least so says an Indian hospital.
His situation elicits empathy and pain, and can melt even a stone-made heart. It lives one wondering how much of a dose of cruelty life can offer at a time.
The young Jonadab is currently fighting what could be described as the toughest and one of the deadly battles of life, as he has been held down by stroke and complete paralysis for two years.
Handsome, vibrant and hardworking, but the last two years period has changed the course for a young man who was ever ready to confront challenges of life and weather the storm unto a breakthrough. Within two years, sickness could be said to have made a ghost out of Jonadab.
Vanguard gathered that Jonadab, a graduate of Microbiology, Imo State University in 2017, was full of dreams about how to navigate the storms of life. Upon graduation, owing to financial challenge, he decided to pick up a secretarial job to raise some money which was needed to begin the process of being mobilized for the compulsory national youth service. A Disc Jockey, he combined the secretarial job with the contracts of being source of musical sounds at weekend ceremonies.
Having raised some money, Jonadab planned to present himself for the commencement of mobilization for the compulsory national youth service on 20th October, 2019. It was same day the life threatening sickness came calling. Today, he is confined to a wheelchair and can neither walk, nor pass urine and faeces, with a sore that has eaten up to his spinal cord.
Timothy Onuchukwu, a pastor with The Apostolic Church Nigeria and native of Umuegwu Mpam, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, is the father of Jonadab. He told our correspondent that the tormenting experience began with a shocking sensation on Jonadab’s feet, the same day he planned to commence clearance and process of being mobilized for service by the National Youth Service Corps. From the sensation, the body packed up.
“On the 20th of October, 2019 which was the day he planned to begin his clearance for NYSC, he felt a shocking sensation under his feet. He thought it was a random shock that would stop with time but instead the whole shock got worse.
“Few days later, his hands stopped moving, other parts of his body took turn to pack up. We began to run helter skelter moving him from one medical centre to another in the east, all to no avail.
“A brain scan was done as he was unable to urinate or pass feaces on his own. At this point, his health deteriorated and it happened so fast.
“He couldn’t talk or eat because the muscles of his mouth were down and weak.
“After weeks at Federal Medical Centre Owerri without improvement and medical bills pilling up, he was discharged”, the father narrated.
Not ready to give up, they resorted to herbal remedy to see if respite or total cure could come the way of Jonadab. It was then the microbiologist by training developed serious bedsore, resulting in discontinuation of the remedy. “We had exhausted all we had in such a short time at the hospital, so, we resorted to using some herbs.
We suddenly noticed some life threatening bed sores on every strategic parts of his body. The bedsores were so deep that it touched his spinal cord and this resulted in rushing him back to the hospital which made no difference as he was close to almost giving up. The sores are healing so slowly”, the father submitted.
Experience at FMC Owerri
At the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri where Jonadab was first taken to, his father said the centre abandoned his son and later used him as a learning tool. He stated that it was at FMC that the situation deteriorated.
“I don’t want to talk about the experience at FMC Owerri until my son recovers. We took him to the place when he was yet to have any deformity. They said there was no bed.
“Later on, they sent me to pay for series of tests; could you believe that as at 1AM, I was still running around for about 12 tests. By then, not even paracetamol was given to him.
“They said they were waiting for consultants and for more than one week, no consultant came. At the end, what we saw was a student doctor who was learning with my son.
“I later learnt that the consultants come on special arrangements. People were dying anyhow. When he ran shortage of blood, there was no blood. He was about to die at FMC before I took him out of there.
“It was one Dr. Njemanze Onyegbu that later restored him”, the cleric told our correspondent.
A friend of the family contacted an Indian hospital that has assured of reviving Jonadab. Pastor Timothy said they have concluded the processes but needed the total sum of N15 million to fly Jonadab to India to save his life. He appealed to individuals, politicians, churches and groups to come to their rescue by way of raising the money.
“I’m appealing to the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, governors of South East, politicians, churches, individuals to help save the life of my first son. Let this boy not die please. God will surely reward anybody who contributes, no matter how small”, he appealed.
He provided the following account details for donation:
Jonadab Onuchukwu – 0083434641 (Sterling Bank); Pst Onuchukwu Timothy/Bibian -2044675239 (UBA); and phone number – 07036419952
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of FMC Owerri, Jacintha Achonu, submitted that the claim by Jonadab’s father cannot be verified since the patient had left the hospital.
Achonu however, insisted that a consultant must have attended to such patient with such magnitude of ailment.
“The issue is that people expect to see a grey-hair doctor before they believe he is a consultant. These days, we have young consultants in their various fields.
“A consultant must have attended to him; no house doctor can be assigned to attend to such case. And it is not possible for one to stay for more than one week without seeing a consultant”, the FMC spokesperson maintained.