Ghana News

Man who ‘eats’ through a tube calls for help



Take a moment, think of your favorite meal. That goat light soup, chicken stew and pork khebab. And if you have a sweet tooth, the chocolate and red velvet cake.

Now – imagine not being able to taste any of these savories and sweet bombs.

That is the daily struggle of Vincent Attobrah who suffers from esophageal stricture. Thus, he can only eat and drink through a tube.

Vincent Attobrah, a 25-year-old who looks half his age has been feeding himself through strange means – the use of a specialised syringe. He has done this for the past three years.

“My throat, can not swallow food or anything; water, fufu, or banku, I can’t swallow. I can only take in liquids like Koko, malt, and tea, etc. through the tube. I pass everything through the tube,” he stated, almost choking.

He has been feeding like this because he suffers from what is called corrosive oesophageal stricture.

Thirsty for water, he accidentally drank what looked like water but turned out to be caustic soda.

“I was schooling at Nzema-Aiyinase. One day, I came back from school thirsty, so I told my grandma. She then asked me to go inside and fetch water. After I drank the substance, I felt a sharp burning sensation in my throat, so I shouted for help.

“My grandma asked me what happened, and I showed her what I drank, not knowing it was caustic soda. The water and soda were standing side-by-side so I couldn’t differentiate. The water and soda were similar; they had no colour so I didn’t know,” he said.

After he drank the caustic soda, he recovered after receiving treatment but his throat constricted again three years ago.

“I was sent to a EIKWE hospital and I got well; I could walk, eat and do everything. It was later that the sickness came back, and I was brought here, Ewusiejoe,” an almost teary Vincent recounts.

Vincent says all efforts to get this rectified have yielded little results. His quality of life has reduced greatly. Vincent hungers to once again eat through his mouth. For now, even drinking water is impossible.

“I can’t swallow anything; even light soup my grandma prepares for me to try swallowing, I’m not able to do that. Even if I try to swallow, I’m not able to. All I can do is use syringe and the tube to put food and water into my stomach. When I get satisfied, the tube is not able to take in anything again. That’s how I feed,” he narrated.

For the past three years, one man has been of constant support to him. Eric Okoe Hackman. He has been trying to rally support to help Vincent. Vincent’s condition depresses him.

“A Doctor did an analysis on him and recommended that he had to undergo surgery. He was given a note to be taken to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, but they said the note had expired so he had to come back for another scan.

“After everything, it was concluded that we needed $3,000 to have the surgery done. We solicited for support from the community members but we haven’t been able to raise it, despite all efforts,” Okoe Hackman passionately stated.

Vincent yearns to taste and eat his grandmother’s food once again. But who will make this dream come true?

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