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COVID-19: VIRUS OR FEAR?

One day, plague and fear were planning on attacking a certain village. In the meeting, they discussed how they’d kill the people of the village but whilst the meeting went on, an argument arose because they all wanted to kill more people. After hours of bouts of back and forth, they realized that they’d have to work together to kill as many people as they wished. So they finally agreed on a strategy; plague would enter the village to kill a few people and fear would enter later and complete the task. The day came and they had to attack the village, the plague attacked the village and killed a few people. Later, fear entered the village and caused great havoc. In the end, fear killed significantly more people than the plague itself. So how on earth did fear kill significantly more people than the plague itself?

In 1942, physiologist and Harvard Medical School researcher Walter Cannon published an academic paper on “Voodoo Death.” He argued that what was assumed as supernatural death was non-existent and that the people scared themselves to death. Dr Cannon’s argument was a topic of ridicule for decades until scientists found a heart disease that killed healthy people. Scientists found that death from fear depends on the intensity of the fright and the length of time your heart spends in distress and the amount of blood that gets restricted from the brain and organs

A story is told of a gentleman who led a chaste life until he met his wife. His wife who was his girlfriend at the time was the only girl he had slept with. As part of the preparations for the wedding, they had to do a blood test for compatibility and other reasons. The test results came and it revealed that the gentleman tested positive for HIV. When the news got to him, he could not believe it and blamed himself for his acquiring of the virus. He attempted suicide but was unsuccessful. He attempted for the second and almost died but for the help of his relatives. When he arrived at the hospital, he was referred to a psychologist for counselling. Upon review by the psychologist, it was realized that the gentleman tried suicide because he didn’t understand the condition and thought it was a death sentence. The fear of dying very soon dreaded him so he wanted to spare himself from the pain ahead.

As the world tries to combat coronavirus, I think it’s important to deal with the fear that is being peddled over the globe. I do not dispute the fact that coronavirus is a deadly disease. However, I think the facts about the condition are being exaggerated by some people. Can you imagine, someone came to my clinic and refused to touch anything because she was scared of getting infected with the virus. I couldn’t think far. Some people have refused to go out because they are scared.

The truth is a lot of people would die from knowing that they have the virus because of the rumours. For most of the news circulating, they are based on emotions and not facts. Let’s consider a fact about the virus: One hundred and seventy thousand two hundred and seven people have been infected globally and six thousand five hundred and twenty-six have died whilst seventy-seven thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine people have recovered. This means that not everyone who gets infected dies right? Unfortunately, people talk less about this fact.

I think the virus is spreading fast on the wings of fear. Could it be that at some point in time we were infected by this virus, went to the hospital and got treated? There was no panic because we didn’t have a name for it. Fear would more often than not have you neglecting the very thing you have to do to keep yourself safe at least because when fear takes over, you more or less accept defeat even when the battle has not begun.

We can’t prevent ourselves from catching the infection however, we can reduce our risk of infection by controlling the controllable things such as thoroughly washing our hands regularly, using sanitizers and avoiding crowded places, to say the least. When we focus on controlling the things we can control, the uncontrollable becomes controllable in the process.

#This pandemic too shall pass.

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WHEN IS LIFE?

Isn’t it amazing how time flies? Do you remember that a few years ago you wanted to finish schoolwork and start working?  How long ago was that? So it’s been almost a decade since Suarez and Asamoah Gyan broke the heart of Ghanaians?

So when exactly is life?  Yesterday is memory. Tomorrow is just but a delusion. It is said that nobody knows tomorrow. This is a true saying. Tomorrow is also just but a mere wish. The security of wealth guarantees a better tomorrow but not tomorrow. One of the things we don’t have control over is tomorrow.

So when at all is life? Life is not yesterday. Unfortunately, life is even not today. There lived a young man in a certain village. This young man had grown to be very rude and a bully because he had joined himself to a group which was noted for doing notorious things. One day, he had a quarrel with a neighbour and decided to deal with him on his return from town that same day. Later in the day, whilst he was walking in town, a driver lost his break and knocked him down. He died on the spot. When the news broke, the whole village was in shock because they knew him and he looked too energetic and full of life to die. He had told his neighbour that he’d deal with him on his return which didn’t happen. Today is not guaranteed. Today has a future. There are 24 hours in a day which is full of uncertainties. Life is not tomorrow. Neither does life begin at 40.

Most of us are either living in yesterday or tomorrow.          For example, one person says, “I will never forgive him for what he did to me.” Another person says, “I am a failure because I couldn’t meet the deadline.”  These are examples of people living in yesterday. Another person also says, “When I buy a car, my life will be good.”  This person is clearly living in the future. The principle of presence is at play here. The principle states that you are present where your mind is. So if you’re thinking of yesterday or tomorrow, that’s where you are present.

When is life? A lot of people are reacting and not living. Being sad is not living but reacting. Our feelings are mere reactions to our thoughts. The next time you feel sad, pay attention to what you were thinking and you’d realize that you’re only reacting.

When is life? Life is when there is breath. So when is life? Life is now…  When someone is no longer breathing, we say the person is not alive. You’re not alive yesterday. You’re not alive tomorrow. Life begins at breath and not at birth. Think about it! You are not breathing yesterday, you’re not breathing tomorrow. You’re not even breathing today. The only time you breathe is now.

You can’t do anything about what has already happened.  If you were disappointed by a loved one, there’s nothing you can do about it. If you were maltreated by someone, there is nothing you can do about it. The good news is that there is something you can do to it. Don’t live the bad experiences in the now.  We are endowed with so rich a reservoir of memories that we can harm ourselves at any time if we decide to do so. If you choose to bring unpleasant memories of the past to the present, you have the right to do so.  Unfortunately, doing that will only make you sad, frustrated etc. You can decide to also use your memories to your advantage. When you feel defeated and sad, you can fetch memories of when you felt the same but bounced back stronger. You are only permitted to ruminate on good memories. This is because it is a more healthy option.

You have control over only the now. Life is now and not tomorrow. Life is now so live it now and well. When is life? George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles band answered it by saying, “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it, and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” Let us live now! Let us live now!

Author: Julius Ziorkuli, Psychology Department.

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TRUST HOSPITAL APPOINTS FIRST CEO

The Trust Hospital has appointed Dr Juliana Oye Ameh as its first Chief Executive Officer, since it was hived off from the mother company Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in January 2013.

Dr Ameh is a Senior Specialist Paediatrician and had her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Nigeria in 2000.

She later pursued post-graduate training in Paediatrics at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Dr Oye Ameh has over 15 years of progressive experience in paediatrics, neonatal and child health. She comes into her new role with over seven years of specialised experience in health services development and management.

She has been involved in several health developmental projects such as national health policies, protocols and training manuals in Ghana.

The new Trust Hospital CEO has been a member of the West African College of Physicians in the Faculty of Paediatrics since 2006.

She has a Post-Graduate Certificate with distinction in Business Administration and a Certificate in Health Administration and Management all secured in 2012 at GIMPA. Prior to joining The Trust Hospital Company Limited (TTHCL), Dr Oye Ameh was the Medical Superintendent at Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Authority (LEKMA) Hospital where she set up a thriving health delivery model in the hospital and made an enormous impact in the steady rise of the hospital.

Commenting on how she will manage a private hospital of this calibre, Dr Ameh said, “clinical and administrative excellence can only be achieved through team effort and hard work. Through this, every person that walks into any of the 9 facilities of The Trust Hospital Company Limited would walk out happy and satisfied.

“Overall, I hope to upscale the Hospital in terms of clinical care, research, continued professional education and rightful application of technology for maximal efficiency. I will also seek to build team spirit in both the medical and non-medical professionals to maintain the Hospital as one of the leaders in private healthcare providers in Africa”. Dr Ameh added.

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CPR Training

Doctors, Nurses and emergency assistants of the Trust Hospital have undergone practical training in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

This training served as a refresher course; and showed life saving techniques that are useful in many emergencies situations

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Overview

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the major vessel that supplies blood to the body (aorta). The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen.

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.

Depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it’s growing, treatment varies from watchful waiting to emergency surgery.

Symptoms

Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms never rupture. Many start small and stay small; others expand over time, some quickly.

If you have an enlarging abdominal aortic aneurysm, you might notice:

  • Deep, constant pain in your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen
  • Back pain
  • A pulse near your bellybutton

When to see a doctor

If you have pain, especially if pain is sudden and severe, seek immediate medical help.

Causes

Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta, but most aortic aneurysms occur in the part of your aorta that’s in your abdomen. A number of factors can play a role in developing an aortic aneurysm, including:

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis occurs when fat and other substances build up on the lining of a blood vessel.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the aorta’s walls.
  • Blood vessel diseases. These are diseases that cause blood vessels to become inflamed.
  • Infection in the aorta. Rarely, a bacterial or fungal infection might cause an abdominal aortic aneurysms.
  • Trauma. For example, being in a car accident can cause an abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Risk factors

Abdominal aortic aneurysm risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use. Smoking is the strongest risk factor. It can weaken the aortic walls, increasing the risk not only of developing an aortic aneurysm, but of rupture. The longer and more you smoke or chew tobacco, the greater the chances of developing an aortic aneurysm.
  • Age. These aneurysms occur most often in people age 65 and older.
  • Being male. Men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do.
  • Being white. People who are white are at higher risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
  • Family history. Having a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms increases your risk of having the condition.
  • Other aneurysms. Having an aneurysm in another large blood vessel, such as the artery behind the knee or the aorta in the chest, might increase your risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Complications

Tears in one or more of the layers of the wall of the aorta (aortic dissection) or a ruptured aneurysm are the main complications. A rupture can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. In general, the larger the aneurysm and the faster it grows, the greater the risk of rupture.

Signs and symptoms that your aortic aneurysm has ruptured can include:

  • Sudden, intense and persistent abdominal or back pain, which can be described as a tearing sensation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast pulse

Aortic aneurysms also put you at risk of developing blood clots in the area. If a blood clot breaks loose from the inside wall of an aneurysm and blocks a blood vessel elsewhere in your body, it can cause pain or block the blood flow to the legs, toes, kidneys or abdominal organs.

Prevention

To prevent an aortic aneurysm or keep an aortic aneurysm from worsening, do the following:

  • Don’t use tobacco products. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products. Avoid saturated fat, trans fats and limit salt.
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. If your doctor has prescribed medications, take them as instructed.
  • Get regular exercise. Try to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. If you haven’t been active, start slowly and build up. Talk to your doctor about what kinds of activities are right for you.

If you’re at risk of an aortic aneurysm, your doctor might recommend other measures, such as medications to lower your blood pressure and relieve stress on weakened arteries.

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