Dr. Ijem preparing for pacemaker implantation.
Founder, Dr. Ijem from Murrells Inlet, SC, returned to Nigeria this past spring to teach, donate and operate. He visited Nigerian medical facilities, gave lectures to local physicians on interpreting EKG readings and diagnosing/treating heart failure, and he performed surgery.
Dr. Ijem’s patient was a 55-year-old woman with third degree heart blockage, which caused her to exhibit abnormal body swelling and a periodic loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen.
The surgery took place at the Federal Medical Center in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Due to sterilization concerns, the pacemaker, which was donated by Medtronic and St. Jude Corporation, was only made available at the point of insertion.
The pacemaker surgery took about two hours to perform. In the U.S., this same surgery would have been completed in 30 minutes, due to the available technology and equipment.
Not only did Dr. Ijem not have access to modern technology during this pacemaker surgery in Nigeria, he was also conscious of the possibility that an unexpected power failure could occur. Though a generator was available, power loss by the Nigerian Electricity Power Authority could have meant life or death for the pacemaker patient.
During the surgery, Dr. Ijem explained techniques, equipment and warning signs to about 15 Nigerian physicians who were there to observe.
The surgery was a success and 24 hours later the patient was released!
If H.E.L.P. can do this in Nigeria, imagine what this group can do in Georgetown County, South Carolina! Keep an eye on H.E.L.P. as this non-profit pushes forward to acquire and implement a mobile medical unit for Georgetown County’s rural population who cannot travel to the free medical clinic in Pawleys Island for medical attention.