By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says it will host the forthcoming African Medical Associations conference to address issues surrounding “End-of-Life care.”
President of NMA, Professor Mike Ogirima, told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that the conference would hold on Thursday and Friday. He defined end of life as a period patient condition is critical and at the point of death.
Professor Ogirima explained that end-of-life care refers to healthcare not only of patients in the final hours or days of their lives, but care of all those with terminal illness or terminal condition.
He further said such care assist in alleviating the pains and suffering of patients. “End- of- life has to do with somebody who is critically ill, brain dead and as a doctor, after all medical examination and efforts you know full well that such patient will ultimately give up the ghost.
“The issue around end of life entails resuscitation, palliative care which amount to waste of resources. Such resources to be wasted for resuscitation and other palliative care can be conserved by switching of the machine on the person for others to benefit from the system,” he said.
Prof. Ogirima, who identified patients under this category to include somebody with terminal diseases, cancerous patients whose entire system has been eaten up by cancer and in serious pains, among others. The NMA president however noted that even if the person was dying, doctors must ensure that he or she live a qualitative life and as well dies qualitatively.
According to him, physicians need to recognise that death is inevitable for many medical conditions despite aggressive treatment. He noted that optimal end of life care begins with an honest discussion, disease progression and predicting the likelihood of patient survival.
Ogirima, who is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, frowned at the resources wasted in continuous resuscitation of such patients knowing that the person would eventually die.
On the meeting, professor Ogirima emphasised that whatever decision the body arrived at would reflect the position of Africans and will be forwarded to the secretariat of the World Medical Association (WMA).