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Health News of Monday, 23 January 2023


Sickle cell patient, LASUTH differ on abandoned corpses

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Lagos State University Teaching Hospital

A sickle cell patient, Ese Ikpe, has accused the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, of unprofessional conduct, including abandoning corpses in wards.

The hospital, however, said the allegations were “unfounded or due to misunderstanding.”

Ikpe, who spoke to PUNCH Metro on Wednesday, said she had a crisis and was referred to LASUTH by a private hospital, whose bills she could no longer afford.

The 52-year-old mother of two said she got to the state hospital around 7 am on January 4 and was made to wait outside in her condition till 4 pm when she got a bed space.

She alleged that the emergency ward where she was kept was filled with dead bodies.

She said, “The workers at the hospital told my husband to go and buy gloves, cotton wool, and things that hospitals should give their patients for free. If you don’t buy them, they won’t attend to you.

“The bed they placed me on, by the right was a dead person. By the left was one person that was just whistling. One thing I noticed was that everyone in that emergency ward was swollen.”

The next day, Ese said the workers enquired about her condition while expressing doubt that she was a sickle cell patient.

She said, “They asked me, ‘When did you find out that you had sickle cell? How can you say you are 52? Are you sure you are not just trying to gain attention?’ It got to an extent I told them that I needed to rest and that if they could not give me blood, they should stop giving me drugs.

“All the things we bought were on top of my bed. They stole my medicine and some of my things. A woman who died and her family couldn’t pay the clearance to get her out of the ward was left. I was the only one alive in the ward. One man then came and told me that if I did not buy a bucket (for toileting) worth N1,500, they would steal all my things.

“When I started screaming that I wanted to leave the hospital, my husband then requested one pint of blood for me. That was where the problem started. They said they don’t sell blood, despite collecting N7,000 from me for two pints of blood. They said the other one they gave me was borrowed, which they required my teenage son to replace with his blood.”

She said her plea for the workers to let her go fell on deaf ears, as they insisted her son replace the blood.

This, according to her, prompted her to go live on Facebook with her mobile phone as a security guard challenged her action.

“We got people to donate blood but the workers refused. They said my son would be the one to donate the blood. I started crying. So, they went to bring in the police.

“When they were pulling me, my older son who was watching through the window became angry, came in, took my phone and switched it off then demanded to know the right they had to seize a citizen’s phone. They now said my son was a criminal and that they were going to pick him up and lie against him,” she added.

She said the workers later told her husband to pay for the blood.

The Head of Quality Assurance, LASUTH, Dr. Oladeji Adewumi, said the allegations were not true.

On her claim that there were swollen corpses all around her, Adewumi said, “She was clearly mistaken because once a patient dies, we inform the family members, and immediately, the deceased is moved to a mortuary. We need bed spaces for patients that are coming in. We are one of the busiest hospitals in the country. We cannot leave a dead body on a bed that we can use to attend to other patients. The only reason a dead body may stay longer on a bed is if the relatives are arguing that they are not ready to have it moved to the mortuary.”

He said the allegation that her things were stolen at the hospital could not be true because each patient was entitled to a locker.

On blood, Adewunmi said, “We have evidence that she paid for one pint of blood, not three. It wasn’t the blood she paid for. What she paid for was the screening of the blood. That is the international standard. And when you get blood, you must replace it because when other people come, there will be no blood for them.”