When 20-year-old Philip Akhigbe visited Vanguard's Corporate Head Office in Lagos, not many persons who saw him as he walked into the visitors' lounge had inkling what was troubling the young man. Not even this reporter initially understood why he required assistance.
At a glance, his looks almost gave him out as a fraudster, but closer scrutiny revealed the source of his problem. With a head-warmer carefully fitted on his head down to his ears any body would have believed that Philip was just wearing it for the fun of it. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He has a head injury and abnormal ear which requires a life-saving surgery far away in Haifa, Israel.
Philip, an undergraduate student of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, was allegedly knocked down by a reckless commercial vehicle driver leading to a ghastly head injury. The young man, was treated at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, and later referred to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria, ABUTH, and finally the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH were he was treated temporarily before being referred to Shemer Medical Centre, Israel.
Although he eventually lost his right ear in the process of treatment, doctors handling his case, say the only succour is a course of treatment amounting to N4.5 million for a life-saving prosthesis ear treatment at Shemer Medical Centre, Haifa, Israel.
The accident which occurred precisely on 20th of December, 2008, has left the Akhigbe family bankrupt.
In an emotion laden voice, Philip who is obviously depressed with his condition said he is suffering. "I can no longer speak coherently. I know you may be thinking that I am enjoying wearing this head warmer even under the hottest sun. It is not so. Since this injury occurred, I cannot read and understand. Even when you speak to me, I do not understand everything.
This is how bad my condition is right now." A medical report from the Department of Surgery, ABUTH, signed by Dr. A. Ibrahim a Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon, Philip has a three year history of post traumatic am putation of the right ear sustained in a motor vehicle accident and was seen im mediately at UBTH where he had wound debridement and suturing of lacerations.
The report also states that he has extensive scarring over right temporal region thus reconstruction with autogenously tis sue using the superficial temporal artery is not possible but would benefit from use of Prosthesis. Unfortunately, it is presently not available in the hospital.
Also, a quotation for an evaluation and possible treatment from Shemer Medical Centre, Haifa, Israel, signed by Mr. Barry Varkel, states that the N4.5 million will cover hospital bills, return tickets for two persons, Visa fee for two people, accommodation for two weeks and other miscellaneous expenses.
Philip is appealing to well-meaning Nigerians, friends, corporate organisations and the Edo State government to come to his aid. "I am appealing to all Nigerians to look into my situation and see how they will see me through this difficult moment of my life."
If you are touched by Philip's story, please call 07069238679, 08133895189 for further details.