Micah Didion in an Intensive Care Unit in Eichstatt, Germany. He is flanked by his brother, Dr. Brady Didion and Dr. Joachim Munk. Photo contributed.
Fighting for his life
Singer with local roots airlifted from Benin to German hospital
When we featured Micah Bradley Didion in our pages in the summer of 2022, he was traveling the world, making music and talking about emerging from life’s trials with a smile on your face and appreciation for the many melodies you discover and create along the way.
“I’m still here,” he said with a laugh in that story. “Still standing.”
Those words have new meaning now after Didion, who performs as OMGAH and gained popularity as an international composer and performer, came to the brink of death recently while in the West African country of Benin. Didion grew dangerously ill while there with an infection that eventually led to sepsis and threatened to cut his life short. He was airlifted to a German hospital where he was still recovering in the ICU when we spoke with his brother, Brady, last week.
“It’s been incredible to see his strength,” said Brady. “I think a lot of people would have given up.”
Brady, who is seven years older than Micah, happens to be a doctor, which meant he knew how serious his little brother’s illness was when he started learning about the symptoms.
“He had developed some stomach problems within a week of arriving in Benin,” he explained. “He developed a pretty severe abdominal infection.”
CT scans showed the severity of the case, but the remote, poor region he was in did not have the tools to save him.
“Me and my sister hopped on a plane and got over there,” said Brady. “It wasn’t a question when we heard he was in trouble.”
What they found was a patient in rough shape.
“It’s a small hospital and they were doing the best they could, but he needed more advanced care than they have,” Brady explained.
Brady, who has volunteered in parts of Tanzania and Honduras in the past, said it’s a common problem in much of the world, where poverty prevents people from getting what most Americans would consider basic healthcare.
“People die from preventable stuff all the time,” he explained.
While Micah’s parents worked to arrange for an international medical evacuation, doctors worried the patient’s condition had grown so serious that moving him could prove fatal. While the jet that took him to a hospital near Nuremberg, Germany was “essentially a flying ICU,” according to Brady, they had to fly near sea level because they were concerned major pressure changes could pose a serious threat.
“They weren’t even sure they could fly him,” he said.
Micah was lucky, because his loved ones jumped into action.
“We needed to advocate for him,” said Brady. “He was too out of it and couldn’t do anything.”
Micah had his fifth surgery last week, and he was slowly getting better while still in the ICU.
“A proliferation of the bowel can be deadly,” Brady explained. “Abdominal sepsis is really serious. But now he’s up and walking around. He’s on some pain meds, but he’s getting better.”
Family members set up a GoFundMe account and so far, more than 300 people have donated to help pay for his medical bills. Micah graduated from Mount Horeb High School in 2010, and he still knows many people in the area. Many here were thinking of him as he pushed through the ordeal.
Micah first entered the hospital in Benin on March 5. He was flown to Germany six days later, on March 11. As he fought to stay alive, his brother marveled at his resilience.
“He’s always been strong and focused on getting well,” he said. “He’s very determined. He’s even stronger than I expected.”
“We just wanted to also express thanks to the clinical staff here in Eichstatt, Germany for really saving his life and giving him great care, and the community and people of Eichstatt has been wonderful,” Brady added.
Micah was moved out of the ICU early this week.
“He’s now out of the ICU and doing well, and is working on walking around and eating, doing the basic human stuff,” said his brother. “We hope for a mid-next week return travel date to Chicago or Minneapolis.”