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Feb-16-2012 20:38printcomments

How Long Can a Patient Stay in ICU?

And how long one can callously see the suffering of another in ICU without any hope of redemption?

Four African leaders
Four African leaders whose countries scored well in the annual ranking of African nations by The East Africa Newspaper

(UGANDA) - One of the protagonists portrayed as a pathologist in Arthur Hailey’s book titled “The Final Diagnosis” observed that “the remarkable thing about the human body is not what kills us but what we can have wrong inside us and still go on living.”

Click to order Haley's book from Amazon

Accordingly, a person may live normally while carrying a cause that’s harmful to health for a long time before succumbing to any form of illness.

I even heard real medical practitioners talk about insidious cancer in real life. And so I have a fair idea as to how a person after being admitted as a patient can stay in ICU/Intensive Care Unit for quite some time.

Yet, that’s an exception rather than a rule.

In most cases, either the condition of the patient improves or deteriorates whereby he or she gets discharged from the hospital to resume normal life or the mortal remain gets relegated to the morgue and eventually burial. Now that’s in a human being over which I have neither the intention nor the capacity to dwell upon.

However, since this analogy has been applied to African nations by the East African Newspaper, February 6-12 2012, to assess how these mostly hapless nations are faring, I decided to indulge in some philosophical reflections.

As has become the custom of the newspaper to evaluate the performance of African governments for the second time this year, it applied a variety of measures.

Thus, it took into consideration the Mo Ibrahim Index of African governance, the Democracy Index, Freedom House’s Press Freedom Index, Transparency International’s Corruption Index and the United Nations Human Development Index.

Then EA developed a Nation Media Group Index “to complement the others” the paper chose.

Consequently, it based its final score for the political leaders through the average score of all these indices. What piqued my interest is the way these African “leaders” were assigned letter grades on the basis of their 0-100 score derived from the six indices.

To the best, A+ and A is given which sadly are few.

To the mediocres, C is given which is not only acceptable in the African context. It can be viewed as satisfactory in the developed world too. George W Bush at one time made a speech at a graduation ceremony by telling undergraduates that he was a C student which didn’t prevent him from assuming the highest of the highest office on this planet.

So he told the American youth not to let their spirit dampen for being a C student. In my own student days, we used to assign D jokingly for dunce and F for flat or failure. Unfortunately, EA went beyond the normal grading we were accustomed to.

Wade - 'F'

Mohammed VI - 'F'

After recording the dismal performance of these strongmen of Africa on different score cards, EA had shown us how some are hopeless beyond any redemption. Some are even unable to maintain earlier position despite clinging to power for eternity.

Rulers like Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, his Majesty of Swaziland etc. have not only declined but plummeted in their performance as “leaders.”

Personally, I find this to be “ progress” commensurate with the law of nature.

As a human being cannot remain a child once after she’s born but rather matures, then grow old and dies, no living thing can remain static. Moving forward or sliding backward is part of the inexorable law of nature.

Ouattara - 'ICU'

Mswati III - Morgue

Before I proceed to what I find uncomfortable to accept, though, I’ve to congratulate the people of my host country, Uganda. EA broke the good news that the government of Uganda presided by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recovered from ICU and notched up to F.

Though, it may not be considered as a tremendous stride,it can be taken as a bouncing baby crawling on all four.

Having said that, I am baffled while some like the Djiboutian establishment led by Ismail Omar Guelleh deteriorated and succumbed to “morgue,” some like the regime of Ethiopia at the behest of Meles Zenawi maintained the same ICU status.

Nkurunziza - Morgue

Guelleh - Morgue

To me it’s understandable if those who were in the morgue last year are still in the morgue this year.

After all, dead bodies are mummified and kept for various reasons. But the unchanging situation of a person in ICU at best cast a doubt in the diagnosis itself.

However,if the diagnosis is said to be fool proof,then one has to also consider euthanasia/mercy killing to put them out of their misery once and for all.

How long one can remain in ICU?

And how long one can callously see the suffering of another in ICU without any hope of redemption?

An Ethiopian Human Rights Defender exiled in Uganda.

Kiflu Hussain is an attorney based in Uganda. He says his passion for writing came from reading, and that it’s inevitable that the more one reads, the more one develops the urge to write. Kiflu has published articles in Ethiopia on the English Reporter, then a weekly newspaper along with a few Amharic articles on the defunct Addis Zena. It was after he and his family found refuge in Uganda, that he began contributing writings to the local papers and various websites such as Daily Monitor, Uganda Record, The New Vision, Ethioquestnews, Garowe Online, Wardheer News etc.

The reason for this is clear. Ethiopia, despite being a seat of the African Union had never produced a regime that allows even the minimum space for dialogue that other people in Africa enjoy so naturally. So Kiflu's ending up as a refugee in Uganda is a blessing in disguise for it accorded him with the opportunity to write. He says at the same time he learned, unfortunately, that his refugee status would be what showed how deep the hypocrisy of the “international community” goes. We at are honored to carry this gentleman's work and we hope that in the process, western people may come to appreciate the struggle of refugees throughout the world.

You can write to Kiflu at this address: E-mail;

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Amandablack February 17, 2012 4:01 pm (Pacific time)

"How long can a person stay in ICU"? As long as any kind of insurance you may have, pays for treatment. If not, you will find yourself on your behind not only outside ICU,but outside the Hospital as well.

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