UNIZIK Ex-VC’S Wife Speaks about her Worst Experience as a Doctor

Lady Ahaneku, the wife of the former Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state (UNIZIK), Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, shared that one of her most challenging experiences as a doctor was knowing the full extent of a patient’s ailment while being medically unable to provide a solution. She expressed how heart-wrenching it was when patients, in their final moments, looked to the doctor for help, only to be met with helplessness.

During the 90th inaugural lecture at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, where she spoke on “The Human Heart: A Workaholic with Numerous Saboteurs,” Ahaneku highlighted various human limitations and shortcomings, which she referred to as saboteurs and heartbreakers, encountered by doctors when treating patients. These included factors like ignorance, socio-cultural, religious, and economic aspects.

She recounted a poignant experience from her past involving a 19-year-old man with Marfan syndrome, where she deeply regretted losing the patient due to socio-cultural barriers despite her determined efforts to save him.

The young man, who had been in relatively good health, suddenly experienced chest pain, weakness, and difficulty breathing after waking up one night. Upon examination, Ahaneku diagnosed him with Marfan’s syndrome and an aortic aneurysm, which had ruptured, causing internal bleeding.

Ahaneku recommended that the young man be taken to a facility capable of surgical intervention to increase his chances of survival. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, the mother was unable to follow through with this advice. The young man, in tears, pleaded with Ahaneku not to let him die.

Determined to help, Ahaneku reached out to a surgical center in Abuja, assuring them that she would take responsibility for the bills. However, the mother declined this assistance, which ultimately led to the young man’s passing.

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The mother confessed that she had the son before marriage and explained that she couldn’t afford to leave Anambra for treatment in Abuja, as it would lead to conflicts with her husband.

Prof. Charles Esimone, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, praised the timely and essential nature of the lecture. He commended the inaugural lecture committee for their dedication and innovative approach, which not only expanded the online audience but also contributed to the institution’s improved ranking, moving from 34th to 4th position in Nigeria.

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