The only child of the late Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, Bankole Cardoso, who at the heart of everything good during the disastrous Ebola epidemic has opened up on her death and last moments.
Dr Adadevoh identified the disease in infected Liberian, Patrick Sawyer and prevented him from leaving the First Consultant Hospital in Obalende, where she worked, despite immense pressure. She died of Ebola on August 19, 2014.
In a recent interview with NPR, the founder of taxi service, EasyTaxi revealed that life without his mum has been devastating.
He began by narrating how his mum encountered Patrick Sawyer, the first time:
“She’s synonymous with First Consultants Hospital. Upon seeing the patient, she was told that he was coming from Liberia, so she immediately suspected that he may have an infectious disease, because he was being treated for malaria at the time. And she noticed that it seemed as if he was bleeding on the surface of his skin. So that was the first time I ever heard her speak about Ebola.
“All I remember her saying at the time — this was just her nature, never about herself — just I remember what she was saying was that he seemed scared, the patient. And so she was praying for him and telling him everything will be fine.
“Just like her normal self, as you would hear from anyone in Nigeria that has come across her, that she is completely selfless. She gives her all to all her patients. When someone is ill, she is happy to do an in-house call, she’s happy to do anything to make sure they’re fine.
“Beyond the medicine, she was always there for people. I remember her being so affected that he was so scared and worried about himself, when she had to tell him that she believes he has an infectious disease. Later on, I found out that when he was told he had an infectious disease, he went bananas, he was furious and he demanded to be released from the hospital.
“At that point, and this I know as well, the Liberian government was calling her and pressuring her to release him, that he had come for an important meeting, an international conference in Calabar — in the eastern part of Nigeria.
“So they demanded for him to be released, citing that he was kidnapped by the hospital and that it’s against his human rights to keep him there. They threatened her multiple times. She stood her ground. There was no way to let him go because he was putting the rest of Nigeria at risk if he left the hospital.”
On how she handled the news of being infected with the deadly virus, he said:
“On the Monday I believe they did the test. By the Tuesday or Wednesday it was confirmed. I remember her being preoccupied the whole time, with this on her mind that she has an Ebola patient.
“When she fell ill herself, it was more my dad noticing. Normally she’s an extremely active person. But one Saturday she seemed to be just taking her time, not really her normal self.
“So he suspected and we spoke, and she says she feels okay. When she didn’t go to work on Monday and Tuesday is when she started to feel ill.
“She didn’t want to go into the isolation unit. Because when the Liberian national was at her hospital, I remember she used the world uninhabitable. That that place was uninhabitable [the isolation unit that was being made ready by the health authorities].
“Eventually, two days later, an ambulance came and we went to the isolation unit. The WHO doctor said he has dealt with hundreds of Ebola patients. In every five, two walk away, two have to be managed, one dies.
“And so he said that, in this condition, where he was working with bare health bones, understaffed, he was really battling and it’s going to be a tough situation.
“Then the doctor was speaking to her and after he told us he suspects she has this disease. Of course at that point, I completely lost it, but I spoke to her and she was like, do not worry, this thing is not going to kill me.”
Reflecting on her last moments, he said
“Suddenly, every day seemed to be getting worse and worse, so [the doctor] told us to prepare ourselves for what was to come.
“Five days later she was still there. And things seemed to be getting better, perhaps. And [the doctor], for the first time he had something to say — maybe it could be neurological damage at the end of the day.
“This was probably day eight or nine. This was my birthday.
“The next day we come expecting some more positive news, and that day the story just changes. He says it will be a matter of time, until she died.”
He further revealed how his father saved him from not giving up after her death;
“My dad was able to comfort me, but I was lost completely. Devastating doesn’t come close or even cover it. Anger, confusion – they’re probably the two most forceful feelings I had. It was difficult at the beginning as we began to grieve. Her picture was everywhere, in the newspapers, on television, on social media. But now it helps in the sense that people are offering genuine support. This came from our nucleus of family and friends to begin with. But then after that, it has become even bigger. And so, I was comforted by people I know and now I’m being comforted by people I don’t even know.
He concluded saying
“It’s definitely not the same. Every household connected to our family feels the same. There’s just something missing. Because, like I mentioned, she was this special bond between every single one of us. She just had this special relationship with everybody.”
Source: Daily Post