The beauty of life is,while we can not undo what’s done,we can see it, understand it, learn from it, and change, so that every moment is spent, not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but In wisdom, understanding and Love
Adaku’s death Who is to be blamed? The patient, doctor or Government?
This is a very sad story. Typing right now… it’s still so difficult for me because I know how much this girl wanted to live, she fought, she prayed relentlessly, perhaps it was too late.
How did we meet?
I met her about four years ago on Instagram after I commented on a post (I think about a celebrity who died from Kidney Failure and I saw a comment where he was blamed for his death as a result of alcoholism. I tried to acknowledge the fact that while alcohol may be the cause of the failure, alcohol isn’t the only cause of kidney failure, and then went ahead to list other possible causes. She was among those who ‘liked’ my comment, then ‘followed’ me.
Without any form of formal or informal greeting or introduction she curiously asked: “ARE YOU A DOCTOR”? I tried to be nice (if you know me, you will obviously know I’m not always that nice, lol).
So I replied “GOOD MORNING. NOPE, BUT A MEDICAL STUDENT.
Adaku: Ok. Good morning. But do you know about Polycystic kidney disease?
Somehow I could read this anxiety in her from the way she chatted. So I tried to calm her down.
‘Yes dear’ I replied. Any problem?
Then at this point, she was typing endlessly……… I got tired of waiting and used the time to scroll through her profile.
All I saw was a beautiful, about 5.9 or 6ft tall girl likely in her early or mid-twenties. Chocolate skinned, long hair, with a beautiful smile… In fact, she was stunning! Then I noticed her frequent posts about JESUS, GOD, MARY. She was a catholic…a devout at that, however, it was too early for me to conclude.
Finally, the long-awaited chat dropped…..it was a long one. I read it and couldn’t believe what I just read.
Her mother died of chronic kidney failure. She wasn’t probably informed of her condition on time. She battled with it for years in a private hospital in Lagos where she was diagnosed of kidney problem, however, she claimed her mum was not told the cause of her failure until they went to another hospital a few years after and there they found out her mother had a POLY CYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE. And this was the cause of her renal failure and eventual death. It was indeed a piece of bad news. I felt so sorry for her. Tried to console her and encouraged her to be strong. That was the beginning of our friendship.
But little did I know there was something more……….
We exchanged contacts. She informed me she was 29years old. A graduate of Mass communication. Devout Christian. She was unemployed and single.
“Less than four weeks she revealed to me she had this constant pain in her flanks which has been on for more than 9years now. She has been taking ‘PAINKILLERS” FOR YEARS.”
Hmmmmmmmm I was dumbfounded. Then I didn’t have much knowledge on PKD but I was certain there was something wrong somewhere. So I simply pleaded with her to please go to any good hospital in Lagos, a tertiary one preferably.
Father was sick, her only Brother was in India still trying to make ends meet. I encouraged her to call her brother and anyone she Could for assistance and I offered to assist any little way I could.
Ok. To cut this long story short…..she was also diagnosed with KIDNEY FAILURE.
This girl was barely 29 years. She had same condition her mum had. She had cysts in her kidneys which damaged them.
This should have been prevented……yes. The hospitals her mother visited didn’t do enough.
It was already too late.
This is unfair.
She died last year, in the month of June.
She was never supposed to even be on painkillers. It worsened her condition. If she was employed she would have had access to a good hospital a long time ago.
I think everyone should be blamed especially the hospitals her mother visited. What do you think?
WHAT IS ADPKD?
ADPKD (Autosomal Polycystic Kidney Disease) or simply Polycystic Kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disease worldwide. (This explains why she inherited it from her mother)
In this condition, multiple, continuously expanding cysts (looking like fluid-containing balloons of different sizes) gradually destroy both kidneys structurally.
The kidneys also appear to be 2 to 5 times bigger than normal.
It is also associated with cysts in other organs of the body like the liver, pancreas, as well as dilatation (or abnormal expansion) of blood vessels in the brain (which can lead to bleeding strokes) and, heart abnormalities.
Most who suffer from polycystic kidneys usually have a parent or direct relative who may have suffered from a similar kidney disease. However, the severity of the disease may differ among family members due to many factors (hers was worse than her mom’s because she was on painkillers)
Most times, patients may live a normal life until they are between the ages of 20 to 30years when they begin to manifest symptoms of the disease.
Pain in the flanks
passage of bloody urine
Hypertension ( I forgot to mention Adaku was hypertensive but she never took it seriously. She once measured her Blood pressure and it was 170/100mmhg.
Therefore, what can you do if you have a family history of kidney disease?
Talk to your family physician who will assess you, have you check your blood pressure and, send you for screening tests.
ADPKD can easily be diagnosed with an abdominal ultra-sound scan. A scan will also assess your liver and pancreas for presence of cysts too.
Other tests are a urine test for presence of blood, blood tests for kidney function and a heart and brain scan.
Genetic testing for genes for the disease can be identified in individuals
If a patient already has symptoms of a kidney disease, a good clinical assessment to determine the extent of damage will also be carried out. These will include tests already mentioned including some more complicated ones depending on available facilities.
Usually, a patient will be referred to a kidney specialist (nephrologist) for further management.
This comprises several stages or levels of intervention depending on the presentation and severity. These will include blood pressure control, prompt infection control, medical treatment to control cyst enlargement, aspiration of large cysts, laparoscopic surgery to remove large cysts, total removal of one kidney, hemodialysis and kidney transplant.
An expert (nephrologist) can only take decisions on the appropriate interventional treatment.
It is important to note that smoking, excessive alcohol intake, use of herbal medications injurious to the kidney, use of certain drugs like NSAIDs painkillers (e.g. Ibuprofen, diclofenac, aspirin) or such antibiotics like gentamycin in the presence of ADPKD can rapidly worsen the kidney function of a patient.
Life outcomes are better now when patients are diagnosed early, with expert management and patient cooperation.
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Disclaimer: name, dates, or any other identifying details of my friend in this story were changed to protect her privacy