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He Lost his Fiancé & Baby to Ebola…Read Nigerian Ebola Survivor’s Dennis Akagha Heartbreaking Story

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Dennis-AkaghaToday Vanguard Newspaper published an exclusive interview with Dennis Akagha, the fiancé of nurse, Justina Ejelonu who died from Ebola.
You can click to read the entire interview on the Vanguard Website

We are publishing excerpts from the interview below to highlight the plight of Ebola patients in Nigeria. We are aware of the steps being taken by the Lagos State Government and Federal Ministry of Health to curb the spread of the virus and hope that patient and suspected Ebola patient care continues to improve.

May Justina and her baby’s souls rest in peace.
The story below is heartbreaking…

He and Justina’s Relationship
The truth is that Justina and I were not legally married, we were planning for our traditional marriage in October and she just got this job.

It was Justina’s First Day on the Job
She was a qualified graduate nurse and got the job at the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos. She resumed duty at the hospital on the 21st of July, while Patrick Sawyer was admitted at the hospital on the 20th.
He was her first patient. She was one of the nurses that nursed him.

Justina was pregnant with their first child
She was pregnant and so her immune system was weak, which made it easy for her to contract the disease. On that first day which was a Monday, she was having some pregnancy symptoms, but I just encouraged her to go because it was her first day at work.

She only had minimal contact with Patrick Sawyer
Sawyer was her first patient. The next day, Tuesday, she didn’t work on Sawyer. Wednesday and Thursday, she was off. Then on Friday, Patrick Sawyer died. They didn’t know he had Ebola, it was three days later that they realized it was Ebola.

The Ebola diagnosis
It was after Sawyer died that she told me she nursed him but that she was on gloves. She even thanked God that she didn’t have direct contact with him. The fever continued and we thought it was just pregnancy symptoms and even when she went to her hospital, they confirmed the same thing. She took drugs and ran tests, yet it persisted. At night, she was usually cold and feverish and her body temperature was usually very high. At a point, I began to suspect that she had contacted the virus. I did some research on the disease and realised that she was having similar symptoms.
On the 14th of August, it became serious, she started stooling and vomiting. I had to clean up everything. All of a sudden, she started bleeding and she started crying that she had lost the pregnancy. I had to call her relatives and other people. The bleeding persisted and I had to clean up everything.

On How he cared for her despite the Risks
Initially I was not wearing gloves because I felt I had already been exposed to the virus. But later I cautioned myself and started wearing nylon on my hands. But I couldn’t stay away from her. I kept consoling her. Even when I took her to the hospital, she wanted to hold me and I told her to also consider my safety. She managed to hold herself and was able to find her way out in a pool of her blood. We chartered a taxi to the hospital, but first, I took her to First Consultant Hospital because I felt they should know more. When we got there, I was directed to IGH, Yaba. I told the taxi driver to take us there. The driver wasn’t even aware of what was going on as he took us to Yaba.

Justina’s Ordeal
Justina was on the floor for 30 minutes before she was attended to. She was screaming that she was going to die. She was seriously bleeding, she had to come out of the taxi and lay on the floor. I ran around, trying to get doctors to attend to her. After everything, they took her in, took her blood samples and the following day, the result came out that it was Ebola. They washed the taxi with chlorine and also bathed the taxi driver and I with chlorine spray.
At that point, the taxi driver knew what was going on, he couldn’t even take me home because he was so scared. I had to look for somewhere to pass the night in the hospital. Early the next morning, I left the Hospital. The taxi driver is alive today, nothing happened to him. We have been checking on him and the last time we spoke he told me, he was fine.

Steps taken at Home
14 days after I was exposed to Ebola, my temperature rose from the usual 35.2 degrees centigrade to 37.2. The Lagos State government gave me a thermometer the day I dropped Justina off at the centre. It took them two straight weeks to visit my home and to disinfect it. Before they came, I had already done the much I could do. I used bleach and detergent to clean the whole house, furniture and clothes inclusive.

On why he contracted Ebola
We should be reminded and educated that a healthy person with Ebola virus cannot get anybody infected, except if the person is sick and totally down with the virus like what happened to Sawyer and to my late wife-to-be, Justina. I contacted the virus because Justina was very sick and I was taking care of her without any appropriate protection. When we knew what we were dealing with it was almost too late for me as I had already contacted the virus.

On the steps taken by the Lagos State Government
The Lagos State government sent health professionals to check on me regularly to know how l was doing or if I had the signs of the virus manifesting. So they used to come around to check on me. At some point they created scenes with their visits. I was embarrassed and I was stigmatized. I complained severely to them that I didn’t like what they were doing. Then, one Saturday they visited again, I complained about the pains I was beginning to experience; excruciating pains around my waist.

Prayer
I started praying and asking people to pray for me.
Before this time, I believed in the Holy Communion, so I usually take it daily and do feet washing.

Justina’s Pain & Suffering – Miscarriage & No One to Evacuate the Baby
I was going to the hospital daily to see late Justina. Initially, I was seeing her through the window and she would say I should take her out of the hospital. She complained of lack of care.
Perhaps, Justina would have survived the virus, if not for the state she was in. Her immune system was down because she was pregnant. Along the line, she had a miscarriage and lost the baby due to the Ebola virus disease.

The doctors, who were supposed to do an evacuation on her couldn’t do it because they claimed that an evacuation was too risky as she was heavily infected and may pass on the virus to another person.
Since nothing was done even after the bleeding had stopped, it led to more complications for her because the already dead foetus somehow got rotten in the womb and started a damaging process which led to further complication. Meanwhile, she was still stooling and vomiting and since nobody could dare to touch her, she was left on top of her excretions even when she couldn’t do much for herself due to her weak state. She was given her incisions and other drugs. I believe if some people survived Justina should have been one of them. At a point, I wished I was a doctor myself; I would have taken the risk of doing the evacuation because it really affected her.

Justina’s Last Days
The last day I saw her, I had to go inside the ward because she was so unkempt as nobody attended to her. At that time, the quarantined patients were in the former facility where there was no water and she had messed up herself again. I had to look for water to clean her up, change her pampers and arrange her bedding. Since I was aware of what I was dealing with, I got myself protected while cleaning up the place. I made sure she looked better than when I saw her. Justina was shivering the last day I saw her, one side of her stomach was already swollen, and her legs were also swollen. I prayed for her. At a point, she needed oxygen and the hospital couldn’t provide it. Her friends had to provide it. That was the last day I saw her.
On Sunday Morning, I called her line like I usually did before visiting her, but she didn’t pick her calls. When I got to the hospital, I was told that she was dead.

Yes, in fact she called me that last day and I knew she was going to give up, because she was saying some funny things. She said I should tell my people to go and meet her father so as to finalize our marriage plans, that she’s leaving that place.

On how he survived Ebola
I personally don’t believe in taking medications. I had the mentality that I wasn’t sick. I told the government what I was experiencing. On the day they came to pick me up for treatment, all of a sudden, my temperature went back to normal. The shivering and pains were all gone. So they decided that they would be checking on me. But it got to a point people stopped selling things to me. It was as if the government got a report that I shouldn’t be around. So, they came and said I should go with them that they wanted to take my blood sample. I went with them and they took my blood sample, I was kept in a ward known as the ‘suspected ward.’
The result came out and it was positive. I was then taken to a confined ward. One of the doctors from UNICEF, a white lady told me that they were having issues with the results and that they would have to re-run the tests. They did the tests again and it was still positive. I told them that it wasn’t my result and that I was healthy. I was even doing my usual exercises (press-ups) every morning. I kept telling them that I wasn’t sick. They took my blood sample the third time. That night, they told me that I tested negative in the last result and that I don’t have any reason to remain there. That was how I was discharged.

Thanking God
I was reading a book on healing and taking of the Holy Communion. So I learnt to take Holy Communion morning, afternoon and night. I also engaged myself in feet-washing every day before going to bed. The Almighty God saved me; the Holy Spirit healed me. It wasn’t as though l didn’t fall sick as l had direct contact with Justina but the Almighty God healed me. When I was discharged, I got to my house on Saturday evening and spent two hours the next day, Sunday, thanking God on my own. I didn’t go to church or anywhere because of the already established stigma but today I can confidently attend church activities because I guess they all know I’m free now. I know my faith and belief healed me. God also worked for me apart from the fact that my immune system is also working. I believe I got healed also because friends prayed for me.

43 Comments

  1. Wale

    August 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    This part is so funny – “They did the tests again and it was still positive. I told them that it wasn’t my result and that I was healthy. I was even doing my usual exercises (press-ups) every morning. I kept telling them that I wasn’t sick. ” I can imagine him actually doing a quick set of press ups to convince the oyibo lady doctor that he dey kampe! Naijaaaa-who wants to there, the poor man had already been through so much and just wanted a way out-in his mind, he is thinking in typical naija fashion; Ebola positive ke?

  2. bruno

    August 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    This breaks my heart, I don’t even know who to blame anymore, america pls give us the drug. We are ready to pay, at least that drug can save some lives. This ebola disease is very dangerous.nigerians, Wash ur hands pls and stop touching strangers.

  3. viv

    August 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    This is one of the saddest stories i’ve heard in a long time. I’m heart broken Justina went through all this. Why did that forsaken man, sawyer, bring this saddness to families. I pray her family will be consoled. In all things the bible says give thanks. ThankGod for the miraculous healing of her fiance.

  4. Dee

    August 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    You see why people are running away from the isolation centers

    • amaa

      September 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      As at the time they where quarantined the NMA where on strike and there were no doctors to take care of them . I hear it is a lot better now.

  5. Maxime

    August 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Oh no. So sad and heartbreaking. This proves that what people were saying about the terrible state of the isolation centre is true. It hurts so much to know that people were left to suffer there without proper care. Just because they cared for others. And so sad that this Sawyer was her very first patient on her very first day of work. RIP Justina.

  6. nimi

    August 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks be to God. Am sure u are a winners member. God has done strange works and strange acts in your life. God bless you for staying with justina till the end, I pray God gives you the strength to bear the loss.

    • benny

      August 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Look at this clown. Mschewwwwww

    • Miss Pee

      September 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      No need for trying to ask such question, whether he attends winners or not All glory goes to God the source of his miracle and I’m so happy he didn’t mention the name of his church in this excerpts if not so people will start doing marketing on BN.

  7. bimbo

    August 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I got emotional all thru while readin dis story.men like u are indeed rare.u re a courageous and Faithfull man.am sure God saw ur heart.may God fill d void of d loved ones u ve lost and may him continue 2 uphold U

  8. bimbo

    August 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Naija Govenment needs 2 work more on d demerits highlighted by dis young man plls.we need 2 give dis people adequate care and hope 2. Live again.

  9. married

    August 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    may God be praised

  10. Carliforniabawlar

    August 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Their ordeal is so heart-wrenching!!

  11. iba

    August 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Patheticccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc, i cant imagine she was left in that state with a foetus gone and yet expecting her to tackle all that ontop the ebola. Justina RIP you are with the lord where there will never be pain, sorrow or tears. Rest on. Mr fiance perhaps you need to let this rest now, you have spoken and done your bit to honour your late fiancee. God bless and hopefully you get back on your feet financially. God bless…

  12. Dizzy

    August 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Causes me to wonder, is this sort of uncurable virus a punishment to mankind for …. ( how do I say this) ‘fraternizing’ with animals ? It seems that is the only way such horrific diseases are picked up.

    1
    • Steve

      August 31, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Justina was not fraternizing with animals, you can get it through infection from someone who already had it.

    • Dizzy

      August 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Please I did not say justina oh!!! I said mankind. Meaning how does this sort of devastating virus enter our society from the beginning.

  13. Modella

    August 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Totally heartbroken..thou it a selfish reason to escape quarantine,but now I know better!

  14. Mz Socially Awkward...

    August 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    BN, thank you for publishing this. And more thanks go to Punch newspaper for seeking out 1st hand accounts of what’s really going on behind the scenes at the isolation centres.

    Things are happening. I was shaking my head repeatedly and exclaiming out loud as I read the interview excerpts. What?? And reading about him performing humane tasks like changing Justina’s diapers were being used for her just about broke my heart. And that she lost the baby but couldn’t have the foetus excavated… I cannot imagine what kind of state she was in during her last few days alive.

    Oh, Father. I’m happy to hear this young man survived, particularly after taking care of his fiancé so selflessly. That was a very emotional read.

    • jinkelele

      September 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Actually this is Vanquards report…the one by Punch was QUITE different.

  15. Ibiwari Pitakwa

    August 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    So sad, so so sad!

  16. chy

    August 31, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Am in tears,literally. This is so heartbreaking.. She really suffered during her last days but she’ was blessed to hv a sweet,caring n loving fiance. May she continue to RIP. Young man,as u showed justina so much love during her ordeal may God bless u beyond all measures and may he give u someone who wud love u just like u loved justina. God saw ur loving heart n saved u. Sooo with terrible conditons of the isolation centers,how do we expect high survival rate? Its not just about getting d Zmapp or watever but its abt d intensive care the patients need. Which sadly I dint think we cn have yet. Yet we wonder why the American doctor survived? God played a huge part in his healing but at d same time American solid healthcare system,of which we can’t even compare with ours played a huge role too. Heaven help us dats all I can say. Our government? No words mahn.

  17. sooodelightful

    August 31, 2014 at 12:31 am

    wow! That is real love right there…he really cared for her. I hope he finds the strength to carry on after this heartbreaking ordeal

  18. think about it

    August 31, 2014 at 1:07 am

    this is what happens when there is no effective health care system in place..all it takes is for one devastating disease to hit & there is untold suffering. only GOD can save us in Africa because we have failed in so many ways… (tears) SMH

  19. chydee

    August 31, 2014 at 7:17 am

    This is so sad, especially for the fact Nurse Justina suffered this much. May she RIP. God bless her fiance for the care, many would have ran from her.

  20. Bino thomas

    August 31, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Very very sad story. May Justina soul rest in peace

  21. Warri Pickin

    August 31, 2014 at 10:09 am

    TEARS,!! TEARS !!!TEARS Flowing like water all over me …Godddddddddddddd, Goddddddd

    Justina’s Pain & Suffering – Miscarriage & No One to Evacuate the Baby
    I was going to the hospital daily to see late Justina. Initially, I was seeing her through the window and she would say I should take her out of the hospital. She complained of lack of care.
    Perhaps, Justina would have survived the virus, if not for the state she was in. Her immune system was down because she was pregnant. Along the line, she had a miscarriage and lost the baby due to the Ebola virus disease.

    The doctors, who were supposed to do an evacuation on her couldn’t do it because they claimed that an evacuation was too risky as she was heavily infected and may pass on the virus to another person.
    Since nothing was done even after the bleeding had stopped, it led to more complications for her because the already dead foetus somehow got rotten in the womb and started a damaging process which led to further complication. Meanwhile, she was still stooling and vomiting and since nobody could dare to touch her, she was left on top of her excretions even when she couldn’t do much for herself due to her weak state

  22. sad

    August 31, 2014 at 11:39 am

    It means no one was really isolated until they started showing symptoms worse there was really no attempt to save their lives. I suspect that a few more have been infected that no one knows about. Everybody please be careful and dont assume o.

  23. Bimbo

    August 31, 2014 at 11:59 am

    It’s sad this guy had to go thru what he went thru but it’s a symptom of our Nigerian problem that he felt eating holy communion and washing of feet was what cured him. This kind of talk is what causes problems for us. People will now start eating holy communion and washing their feet instead of taking the right precautions.

    • chu

      September 1, 2014 at 11:51 am

      He initially didn’t take precaution because he felt he was already contaminated, but afterwards he did, he even disinfected his house long before the government came to do it. So if his faith in the communion table and feet washing helped him through it, its not bad to share. Anyone reading has to take precaution and also have faith in God, which ever level of faith they have. Saying anything less is alluding to the fact that the readers are not intelligent enough to form their own conclusions. Let’s not bash his faith.

  24. Tincan

    August 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    You know, I have always thought that one thing the Nigerian government have in little doses, is shame, particularly when the eyes of the world are on us. Unfortunately, it appears that they don’t even have shame. What does it take to manage and run 1 isolation centre? Just the 1? I generally stay away from Nigerian news because our madness makes me fear. We cannot efficiently manage 1 isolation centre? Sigh. Thank God for this young man. In everything we truly give thanks.

  25. pelly

    August 31, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    GOD BLESS THIS COURAGEOUS AND LOVING PARTNER
    JUSTINA’S SOUL WILL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU IN HEAVEN FOR THOSE LAST DAYS COMFORTS
    I PRAY THAT GOD WILL CONSOLE YOU AND JUSTINAS PARENTS ESPECIALLY

  26. Chris Okoro

    August 31, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    May Justina and her baby’s soul rest in peace and may God give her loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss. And for Justina’s fiance, Dennis, I want to let you know that you are a rare breed and God will bless you immensely and will make up for your loss in a special way. For our disgusting government and health officials, we now know that you are responsible for people running away from quarantine as chances of survival is chances outside quarantine.

  27. lily

    August 31, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    What’s with three tests and three different results.He might still be positive…this confirms that people with Ebola are still on the loose if the government only takes them in when they have developed symptoms. This man could have infected friends,neighbours,church members,or even maids if they had one.

  28. Feirooz

    September 1, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This is traumatising

  29. awosh

    September 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    its well oh .God is indeed a miracle worker.Psalm 91 should be our antidote.Thanks mr fiance you where sent from heaven.

  30. deba

    September 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

    In tears.oh God, this lady really went tru hell.May her soul rest in peace

  31. Debbs

    September 1, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Really sad. May their souls RIP & may God comfort Dennis and their families.

  32. Gifthin

    September 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    May Justina ‘s soul RIP. She is looking down on her fiancée, and praying that everything goes alright with him… Dear BN readers (as an aside), it may be wise to map out a new greeting pattern these days as people don’t actually know if they are infected or not…No kidding!. In all seriousness, we should strife to be in the know. He read up for himself, and this did him a whole lot of good even before the government people showed up at his home..

  33. mide

    September 1, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I believe the govt is 100 percent responsible for all this. We were all aware of Ebola virus before Patrick Sawyer brought the virus into Nigeria, Remember our Minister said that we have the vaccines to fight the virus, Patrick knew he had the virus, he came to Nigeria for the treatment and vaccines the govt claimed they had. Now its getting out of control and they are still lying about it. God help us all.

  34. Phoebe

    September 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Am disappointed to learn that the doctors did not want to do an evacuation on her so they don’t get infected. So inhumane, no ethics of practice, Of course that contributed to her death, she may have had a better survival chance.

  35. Vocalcords

    September 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    This is so heartbreaking…She went through so much pain in her last days on this earth but we thank God for giving her such a selfless and loving man to assist her in the worst times of her life, I pray God comforts him and her entire family. Just reading this drained me emotionally. We hear in the news of how these people die of ebola but never truly know the extent to which these people suffer before they die. Our medical system just makes me so maaddd right now. May God help us IJN.

  36. candy

    September 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    very sorry for your loss Dennis. You r a tesimony. its amazing how u combined both the spiritual and physical to knock off ebola from ur system. spiritual food(the word) + spiritual exercise(communion, spoken words) + physical exercise= divine exemption. the word really does work!!!! God be praised.

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