Nfawa-Precious Offem encounters a despondent father in search of persons with milk of human kindness to help return his son’s wholesome physique and dignity
It was a family tragedy of huge proportion. When the car carrying his wife and son from Ondo to Lagos crashed at Sagamu, it left a horrible tale that has endured, not only in the mind of the victims but also in the tell-tale scars. The vehicle which was driven by his brother in-law was a complete wreck, mangled like a piece of paper crushed by a furious fist. But it was his son who suffered the most. He was only a six-year old lad at the time. At 13 years today, Great, the son of Okechukwu Morgan remains a source of deep concern to his family.
Morgan has had the unfortunate task of taking his son from one health facility to another, seeking for help. The impact of the accident left the boy with fractured limbs and skull. However, the deep gashes on his face has incurred multiple surgeries. Great is not actually in great shape as it is. The effect of many surgical blades on his face have not only altered his physical appearance but also left Great and his father in profound trauma that they have nit been able to snap out of.
Every school day is an agony for Great. Now is JSS 1, it takes constant encouragement from his parents to keep him in school, otherwise he would have buckled under the weight of jeers and taunts from his peers who do not stop to remind him that he looks like a scarecrow.
Moved by the agony of his son, Morgan is forced to throw away the niceties of the situation in order to enter a passionate plea for the possible restoration of Great’s face. He barely stopped short of shedding tears as he told the story that has stripped him of the dignity with which he used to carry himself.
With despair in his eyes, he adjusted himself in his seat, cleared his throat and relayed the plight of his son which brought him to the offices of THISDAY. “I hail from Ndoni Local Government Area in Rivers State and I have lived in Lagos since 1962. Great who is 13 years old now was involved in an accident in 2005 at the age of six. He had gone with his mum who hails from Ondo State to spend the holidays with her. On their way back on that fateful day between Ijebu-Ode and Sagamu the accident occurred. Good Samaritans who witnessed the accident were quick to rush them to the general hospital at Sagamu where doctors quickly attended to them. Great’s condition was so severe that the doctors advised that he be moved immediately to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi-Araba where he was admitted in the emergency ward. There he spent about three months before the operation to his face was carried out.”
Having done the best within their capacity, doctors and other professionals at LUTH acknowledged that they could go no further. Their surrender followed an enduring battle fought to restore Great Morgan to full wholesomeness. He was admitted on September 12 to be treated for avulsion injury to the forehead and face and bilateral humeral fracture and closed fracture of the left femur. During the operation, a split thickness skin graft was used to correct upper eyelid ectropion. He was subsequently discharged on the November 25 and planned for further flap reconstruction of defects of the forehead if required. According to the follow up treatment which was continued on him on March 27, 2006, the following defects were noted which included excessive scarring of the graft site, hypertrophic scar extending from the medical canthus of the right eye down the entire nasolabial fold and reconstructure of the right upper eyelid.
In other words, Great’s condition was getting worse and according to the plastic surgeon consultant, Mr Ugburo A.O. he needed to be flown abroad for further treatment. The medical board of the teaching hospital wrote a note referring Great to a hospital in India for reconstructive surgery with an estimated sum of USD27,770 which is the equivalent of N3.7 million.
At first, Morgan thought it was something he could pull off relying on proceeds from his small time real estate business. However, six years down the line, he is still in search of the money. Even though Great’s arms and legs have been partially healed which has enabled him to return back to school after he lost a couple years. The bright JSS 1 student in a private school in Lagos can’t help but wonder why he appears to be different from the rest of his peers. He would come home from school and ask his daddy why people always turn to look at him and why his friends tend to make fun of him all the time and his father would reply, “don’t worry, son, everything would be alright soon.”
Entering a passionate appeal to good spirited members of the public to look into the plight of his son in order to raise the money required for the reconstructive surgery in India, he stated how he contacted Mecure Fortis consultants who recommended Forte Hospital in New Delhi, India where Dr. Kayshap, Senior consultant, Department of Plastic Surgery reviewed the reports and scheduled Great for reconstructive facial surgery. Other services for which various fees are being demanded include facial construction and skin grafting, evaluation and possible treatment and then visa for two as well as other contingency expenses as well as post treatment consultation with the doctor-in-charge on return to Nigeria. He pleaded with well meaning persons to come to his aid. Donations can be made into his First Bank with account the name Ogden Okey Morgan. Account number 3004973563. He can also be reached on 08023066447 and/or 08161694530.