Photo: The Pathetic Story Of A Nigerian Ex-Bank Manager Whose Dream Was Shattered In The US

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Such a sad story. May God always order our steps. Culled From Punch
Inside the intensive Care Unit of Wake Medical Center in
Raleigh, North Carolina, seven thousand miles from her country home, Ebere Ukwu
sleeps, eyes open; kept alive by the hospital’s life support machine. Her fate
is hanging between faith and modern medicine. Her life didn’t have to come to
this painful circle. She was an ambitious dreamer that wanted to explore her
young world and excel. The ICU room wasn’t supposed to be her final
destination. But early spring of 2013, her exciting life of adventure suddenly
collapsed during a visit to the Emergency Room for minor aches, pain and high
body temperature. Continue after the cut.

Her charming life began at the completion of university
education in 1991. After her Youth Service, Ebere got hired as a staff of the
United Bank for Africa. Few years later, she shifted her loyalty from UBA to
other banks, finally settled at Unity Bank where she rose to become the branch
manager of the Tin Can Island/Apapa branch.
Mr. Ezuma Ukwu, Ebere’s elder brother described her as a
charming enthusiastic sister. “She was a giver of everything to make life easy
for her friends and family. Ebere’s soul was a pot of gold: she dipped into it
and touched so many lives with her candour and kindness: a character embedded
in her religion.”
Ms. Ebere’s admiration for all things American pop culture
was manifested in her young lifestyle and swagger. Her desire and love of
Yankee life moved her to apply for a visa to the United States. She was granted
a two-year visa. She waited for the right time to make that visit. It came
during the financial institutions’ meltdown in Nigeria. She resigned her
position at the bank and relocated to the United States.
Ebere arrived USA during the cold winter month of January
2013 in pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and opportunities. She anchored her
new residence at her sister in-law’s place in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta was not
friendly to her dreams of relocation and quick employment privileges. Ebere
soon left Atlanta for Maryland, at the invitation of an extended family friend,
to try few available menial jobs targeted towards new immigrants wishing to
settle into a different social structure and culture. Ebere accepted an offer
as a part time nanny. She was frustrated by the lack of appeal and job
satisfaction. This wasn’t the job she expected from the land of dreams. Two
weeks after her first job, she quit. Ebere is diabetic. During one of her daily
chores as a nanny, she split her big right toe. The small gash was infected,
thus, it resisted casual self medication. But Ebere kept nursing the minor
wound.
Ebere reconnected with Tunde, her sister’s ex boyfriend who
lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. She pleaded for Tunde’s assistance with
employment and a new life direction. Tunde invited her to visit Raleigh and
search for better employment opportunities she desired.
Ebere arrived Raleigh with severe temperature and fever. Two
days after her arrival and still running high temperature, her host encouraged
her to get immediate medical treatment at the ER of Wake Medical Center. She
went to the hospital and was urgently admitted.
Doctors initially suspected she had been infected with
Poliomyelitis but X-ray revealed otherwise.
Ebere’s sad condition has energised some Nigerians in Raleigh,
they have adopted her. These families and friends allege she was conscious and
interactive when she was admitted to the hospital and before treatments were
administered to her. The X-ray from the hospital indicated that poliomyelitis
was negative. However, the hospital allegedly began series of antibiotics
treatment when she was admitted. She was relieved until a new medication was
added. The new medication caused her severe reaction: affected her breathing
pattern. She was scared of telling the hospital that the new medication was
affecting her breathing: so she confided in Tunde. Tunde encouraged her to tell
her care givers and request a change in medication. She courageously complained
and her medication was changed.
Her unhealed right toe injury became a concern for doctors
treating her. The doctors decided that the best treatment for the toe was
amputation. The nurses informed Ebere that her toe would be amputated to
prevent further infection. Ebere struggled with the decision to allow amputation;
culture shock , as modern medicine was about to alter her body. She reluctantly
agreed and surgery was performed.
Few days after the surgery, Ebere was blasted by massive
cardiac arrest. Nurses found her on the floor of her room, unresponsive and in
comatose. They attempted to resuscitate her, but she slipped deeper into coma.
The hospital called her immediate “family” and friends, told them that she
would never come out from comatose. She is brain dead. Doctors advised the
family to consider turning off the life support machine. Her new family
continue to hope for a medical miracle. Cost of keeping Ebere alive the past
year has risen past $1m. Ebere lives through ventilation. She’s been vegetative
since March 2013.
She survived various bouts of infections, developed a deep
sacral ulcer, has a wound vac that runs on her twenty four hours, Foley
catheter and colostomy insertions. She also had abdominal surgery procedures to
correct anatomy of her intestine with a G tube insertion to assist her
digestive system.
Her condition continues to get worse as she sleeps. Her skin
is peeling off her body and she has developed bed sores. The hospital stopped
treating any new health problems. It concluded her case is hopeless. It has
requested the family to remove Ebere from its facility and return her to
Nigeria. Ebere would not survive an intense 12 hour flight to Nigeria. Nigeria
may not have a 24hr life support health care system that could keep her alive
until miracle happens or family decides to let her go. None of her immediate
family lives in the United States. Her family in Nigeria is not able to afford
a plane ticket to the United States to decide her continued dependence on life
support. Ebere’s voice and caretaker in this unfortunate circumstance is Dr.
Ify Violet Hill, a Nigerian resident in Raleigh: “I don’t know her. But I have
adopted her as my sister. I am here for her. Me, my husband and the Nigerian
community. Her story is pathetic. She came here to chase a best dream, now she
lies in the hospital brain dead. We don’t know what happened to Ebere.”
Dr. Hill has launched a fund drive to raise travel money and
other expenses for Ebere’s family in Nigeria to visit their sister.
“She needs her immediate family here. They should come and
see her in these final moments. She needs to hear their voices encouraging her
to fight on, telling her they love her or wishing her eternal peace as she
makes final exit. We need financial support to help this family see their dying
loved one. Please help us with donations to fly few family members to visit her
at the hospital. Ebere deserves to feel her family in her hospital room, even
for the last time. Her brother was here last year but because of finance, he is
not able to return.”

The Nigerian community have become her only family, offering
hopes, prayers, vigils and at times engage the hospital in negotiations for
Ebere’s care: a care for a fellow stranger who came to the city in search of a
great life only to collapse and become brain dead at the hallways of the
hospital.

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