Seated beside his wife, Joy Ogwang, and their son Jolly Joe Odongo, at the orthopaedic workshop in Gulu Referral Hospital, Nelson Ogwang’s amputated limbs hide in khaki shorts, just like those of the rest of the patients at the workshop. Born in Kole District in 1959.
Fascinated by the art and science of community policing, Ogwang joined the police force in 1989 and served for 25 years, rising from the rank of corporal to Inspector of Police.
His woes started in February 2008, while he was still working in Kole police department, when he noticed a pimple-like swelling on his left foot.
“I started developing pimple-like swellings on my foot and whenever I pierced them, the area turned dark and bloody,” he says.
When clinics failed to treat the illness, he went to Lira Hospital. Here, he was referred to St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu District. At Lacor, he was diagnosed with gas gangrene, a medical condition that results from viral infections in the skin pores thus blocking the normal flow of blood.
“When doctors told me they would cut my leg, I lost hope,” he says.
His left leg was amputated the day he was admitted to Lacor Hospital. After he healed in July 2008, he was discharged.
Two days later, he went back to hospital because his right leg had also developed pimple-like swellings with pus on the foot and leg. This cost him his second leg too.
Although the police headquarters have not helped him, he says his colleagues in the Kole District police department contributed Shs135,000 to his treatment. He adds: “If they have mercy, let them turn and look at me, that I need a wheel chair and money in appreciation for my service,” he appeals.
It is the search for a wheel chair and prosthetic legs that pushed Ogwang to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Orthopedic workshop last month, to beg for prosthetic legs. At the workshop, they were taught how to use wheel chairs, and counselled to deal with their condition. The orthopedic centre sells to them wheel chairs that are offered at a subsidised price. Ogwang recently had managed to get a wheel chair after paying Shs100,000.
Dr Bernard Ndiwalana, the police surgeon who examined Ogwang last month, says: “He can no longer serve to full capacity because of debilitating medical condition. He needs constant physiotherapy.”
Dr Ndiwalana advised the police headquarters to retire Ogwang with all his retirement package on medical grounds. Although Ogwang has gone back home, he says his left thigh has started developing a wound and the pain is getting worse by the day.
Doctors at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor advised him to seek medical assistance at least monthly or weekly depending on the severity of his condition.
The bread winner of a family of 10 children, can neither support himself nor his family because of the lost limbs, and now needs artificial ones.
what is gangrene?
Dr Abdulrehman Tariq of Rainbow City Hospital says, gangrene is a condition where any part of a body becomes lifeless (dead) due to several body infections, blockage of blood vessels due to too much fat in blood vessels and crushing of any body part which could be due to accidents or anything else. Gangrene is classified into three types:
Dry gangrene, wet gangrene and synergetic or gas gangrene. Gas gangrene, which Nelson Ogwang is suffering from, involves multiple body organisms, which produce staphylococcus perfringens, a type of bacteria that produces gases which formulate swellings on the body. “It is the gases from which toxins are produced and when they accumulate in the body, they lead to gaseous swellings on the skin,” says Dr Abdulrehman.
Send money to: Account name: Ogwang Nelson Account number: 0121088701401 Stanbic Bank