Seven-year-old Isma’il can neither sit, talk nor walk. He is visually impaired and has severe brain damage according to his mother, Fatima Zahra’u Ahmad.
Known across social media as ‘Zarah Unscripted’, the special needs child’s rights activist took to social media to advocate and emphasize the priority of gaining medical consent from patients by doctors and medical practitioners before administering any kind of medication.
In a video clip on Facebook, Zahrah, who narrated a bitter experience which led to the permanent ailment of her son, Isma’il, said a doctor’s mistake had cost the health of her child and he is now living in indescribable pain.
According to Zahrah, she was in labour seven years ago at a hospital (not disclosed) when a doctor walked up to her and asked if she was feeling any kind of pain. When she answered in the affirmative, he brought out an already-prepared medication in a syringe and injected it into her already-inserted cannula.
“I immediately became sedated but I was still in labor. In my sleep, I kept screaming my sister’s name even though she couldn’t hear me. But she noticed I was moving and when she checked on me, she realized I was already crowning,” Zarah narrated.
“My sister called on the doctors and nurses and they immediately took me to the labor room. They made me walk in my sleep. By that time, I was awake,” she added.
Moments after Ismail’s birth, he was neither breathing nor crying and they had to resuscitate him. This is a medical condition known as birth asphyxia.
“They didn’t have a paediatrician at the hospital at that moment. The doctor had to call one and she guided him over the phone,” she said.
“All his life, he has lived in severe pain, he has cerebral palsy. It is a condition that makes you extremely stiff. He has had 2 surgeries so far. His ailment does not have a cure. It is brain damage that is irreversible. He is in discomfort,” she explained further.
Zahrah called on people to be conscious of their rights as patients and to always be aware of the medical side effects of medications administered to them at the time of consultation.
“I want you people to see this. This is what lack of consent from a medical doctor cost my family. This is it. What will it take a doctor to explain to you that after giving you this injection, you will fall asleep and after you fall asleep, definitely there is not going to be a supply of oxygen to the brain of the fetus you are carrying.
“This is the result of a doctor’s mistake. This is 7 years of pain and torture and agony. This child does not know what I look like, he doesn’t know what my family looks like.
“So please, whatever medication they are going to give you, let them explain to you the side effects, if it doesn’t sit with you, they shouldn’t go ahead because this is something we will have to live with. I am using this medium as an advocacy for people to see the pains we are going through because someone decided to do something off the record, without informing the decision of the parents.
“I hope and I pray that Nigeria never happens to you. I pray this government will look into the issue of medical error and whosoever is found guilty should face the wrath of the law,” she added.