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13.10.2008 Feature Article


“In case of illness, the most sensible thing to do is to seek orthodox help and pray alongside.” - Dr. Akwasi Osei, Acting Chief Psychiatrist, Ghana Health Service. THOSE WHO are interested in Dr. Osei's views on medicine and prayer can see the Daily Graphic of Thursday, September 25, 2008, for his article entitled, FACTS AND MYTHS ABOUT PRAYER CAMPS.

I am immediately concerned about the story of a young, 17-year-old girl called Jane Frances. The story of Jane Frances is a triumph of true faith in God over religious fakery and sickening superstition. It is the story of a medical miracle.

It is a demonstration of the best of media practice. And it is an indication that there are still human beings in this country in whose veins the milk of human kindness continues to flow.

If Jane is still alive at this moment, it is thanks to God for His Infinite Mercy, to our doctors for their patience and skill; to METRO-TV for its unrelenting spotlight on the case, to the teachers of Jane who took an interest in her case, and to those entire ready to donate money to save a life.

Of course, the case of Jane Frances was not, is not and will not be , the first or the last time our doctors were or would be involved in carrying out surgeries affecting the breast or any other part of the body. They have been doing it all the time.

I remember the classic case of a young woman called Ms Lebene. The young woman had breasts that had become abnormally enlarged and elongated. That was more than seven years ago.

Doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) carried out reconstructive surgery. In my article on the case entitled, IN PRAISE OF GOOD NEWS, and published in the then THE GHANAIAN CHRONICLE of Monday, March 5-Tuesday, March 6, 2001, I commented as follows: “Our medical doctors have been treating the sick all these years. It is not often that treating a patient for malaria gets into the news.”

I stated further, “All the same, when our doctors who are Ghanaians like ourselves go beyond the treatment of malaria into complicated surgery, it is time to give them three full cheers and pats on the back.”

I went on, “Heart surgery, the separation of Siamese twins and reconstructive surgery may not exactly attract headlines these days in countries like Britain, the United States, France and Germany, for example.”

I continued, “But, given that our health care system lacks modern equipment, staff and other materials, we cannot ignore what our doctors have done and continue to do.”

I said, “I saw the picture of Lebene before doctors removed her elongated and enlarged breasts due to disease and her picture after the surgery.”

I noted, “Post-surgery Lebene was a completely transformed woman and not the miserable patient she had been before the surgery. This was God's miracle which He had performed through our doctors.”

I thundered, “We will criticize our doctors when their negligence kills or maims patients. We will not spare them when they forget their Hippocratic Oath and allow mercenary considerations to destroy their professional ethics.”

But I concluded on a conciliatory note, “But we will also praise them for their dedication, professionalism and competence whether they treat headaches, make complicated delivery of babies, carry out heart surgery or give hope and life to the Lebanese of this world. Kudos to all doctors.”

Yes, kudos to the doctors at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital who have given hope to 17-year-old Jane Frances.

I am sure that if there was a way the doctors could have saved Jane's breast without having to remove it, they would have done so. But the delay in going to the doctors meant that the breast was too far gone to be saved.

For the rest of her natural life, she will have to live with one breast and that can be traumatic for her from time to time. The fact is that the breasts of a woman should ordinarily be viewed with revulsion as two ugly protuberances hanging from the body like a disease.

However, God in His Infinite Wisdom has ensured that, far from being objects of revulsion, a woman's breast should become a source of life and objects of attraction for men.

Where would mankind be without the milk from a woman's breast? Every woman is conscious of her breasts not only because they form the “kitchen” which prepares and give food and life to mankind but they also constitute a source of pride to her .

These days women of all ages draw attention to themselves through their breasts. They put their breasts in tight-fitting brassieres while they expose large parts of them to public view. The men get bowled over by the sight.

Jane would not be so lucky even if Dr. (Mrs.) Wiafe-Addai fitted her with one of her artificial cups. But Jane came through the television interview as a very brave girl.

Doctors say that amputees initially tend to feel that the amputated leg, for example, is still there. Jane feels that too, and would, from time to time, feel the place with her right hand. But, of course, it is not there. Yet she spoke so matter-of-factly about it as if she was talking about another person. I did not see a single tear drop from her eyes.

She was initially apprehensive but she came to trust in God and the doctors. She had all along shown interest in being a singer. Now, after her experience, she hopes to be a doctor. May she live long enough to realize her dream.

While we give well-deserving praise, what do we do about the Twelve Apostles Church and other so-called prayer camps that torture their patients by way of treating them?

These so-called faith healers include some tele-evangelists and even some orthodox medical practitioners. I believe that the overwhelming majority of them, if not all of them, are nothing better than mountebanks, crooks, cheats, fraudsters, charlatans, disturbers of family peace, swindlers who exploit the gullibility and superstitious beliefs of their victims.

I ask the IGP and the Attorney-General: Can nothing be done about these crooks masquerading as holy persons of God? PS: - As a pioneer-student and former headmaster of T I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Kumasi , I congratulate ACP Kofi Boakye and Miss Naima Wahab on their astonishing performance at the recent Ghana Law School examinations. Between them, they collected twelve prizes, with seven (7) going to Miss Naima Wahab and five (5) to ACP Kofi Boakye. While ACP Boakye was adjudged the Best All-round Student, Miss Wahab came tops for the women.

Congrats also to the blind young woman who saw her disability not as an obstacle but as a challenge.

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2008

This author has authored 1023 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: GhanaianChronicle

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