by Isi Esene
These are not the best times for Victor Oboite, a self-employed telecommunications engineer lining in Port- Harcourt, Rivers State as his son, Victor Jnr., lay sick with Truncus Arteriosus Type II – a rare congenital heart defect in which the heart’s single large blood vessel fails to divide during fetal development.
As a result of these abnormalities, the baby’s blood isn’t as oxygenated as it should be when it circulates through the body, making it difficult for him to breath.
Since the ailment was diagnosed by doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in Edo State, the Oboite family have been pre-occupied with sourcing for
N3.5 million – an amount which represents the cost of flying the 7-month-old baby out of the country for effective medical attention.
According to Lauretta Oboite, the baby’s mother, Victor is clearly uncomfortable as he battles with an illness determined to break down his resolve to live.
“He has very rapid heartbeat and breathing,” she said in a tone laced with despair. “He doesn’t eat well and he has lost so much weight. His growth is also stunted. My baby sleeps for a long time all through the night. But I can’t tell if he is in pains.”
Her husband says there is need to expedite action on taking Victor Jnr. for surgery abroad as doctors have advised that it be done as soon as possible. “The appropriate time to do the surgery is at age 6 months,” he said.
Our findings reveal that Truncus arteriosus is so debilitating that most children won’t live for more than a few months without treatment.
Victor’s parents thanked those who have expended their resources in taking care of him revealing that about
N1 million has so far been realized.
The self-employed engineer said, “It has not been easy but God has been faithful. Our family and friends have been so supportive. We, however, need additional assistance in form of cash and sponsorship from individuals and government to facilitate my son’s surgery.”
Our findings reveal that little baby Victor has a better chance of living if properly treated in a specialist hospital in India, Israel or the United States. The earlier he gets this, the better. His survival; his life depends solely on our humanity.
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