SANITIZING THE NIGERIAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM… DIVINE INTERVENTION OR SCAPEGOAT NEEDED?
On Sunday, just few days ago, as I drove to church, I came across an accident scene on Oregun road; a mobile police man had been thrown off his bike after hitting a turning Hilux van. (Whether he should have been riding a bike that if civilians tried riding would have been seized is a story for another day.)
Well the First Aider in me kicked in as I promptly checked him, only a few bruises were noticeable, but after asking how the accident happened and learning he had literally been thrown across the hilux and landed head first, I decided it would be better to rush him to the nearest hospital for proper check up.
With hazard lights on and horns blaring I made for the hospital as fast as I could and drove into the medical emergency ward. The attendant on duty (I don’t want to dignify by calling her a nurse as I believe a nurse would have been concerned with lives.) flippantly replied, “We don’t handle accidents here; find your way to the surgical emergency for accident cases”. I thanked her and she went back o disinterestedly doing whatever she was before we got there.
We went further down to the surgical emergency. We got there a few minutes past 8am, and first things first we collected a card, filled it and were asked to sit, after sitting till pas 10am, a nurse finally came and gave him a shot of TT. And the wait continued until he was finally attended to around 11am. With drugs being written down and him being advised to take an x-tray.
I was baffled because if he had any internal injuries chances are the man might just collapse and die on his way home. (Well thankfully he didn’t and he is recovering well now.)
Anyway that aside, those three hours in the surgical emergency of that hospital showed me a lot and taught me about how sanctity for human life has become degraded.
An armed robbery victim was rushed in from a private hospital, he had been cut severely by the robbers and the private hospital had apparently done what they could before transferring him to this particular Government hospital, hence he came in heavily bandaged and with an iv line attached to him. However he was still losing a lot of blood, and groaning in pain. It was a Good Samaritan that had spotted the man being robbed and ‘macheted’ and had rushed him to the hospital even though he was wearing only a boxer shorts and t-shirt.
As a first Aider my heart went out to him, and I thanked God he had been brought into the hospital (As a first aider your Job ends there) and I expected to see the hospital staff swing into Action. Alas they continued their banters as if nothing had happened. The driver of the makeshift ambulance was accompanied by two staff of the private hospital who presented some papers to the people at the reception desk. Lo and behold they pronounced first go and get a card. A card was gotten and filled and then the next pronouncement shook me to my bones.
“We are sorry there is NO BED!”
What? This must be a joke I guessed, but lo and behold the patient whose survival depended largely on being attended to immediately, was left lying and groaning in the back of the Volvo van(makeshift ambulance) for over 30minutes. I would walk out and back inside the ward with tears on my face, I went to the ambulance severally, the man was coherent intermittently, but there was nothing I could do at that point. The man needed urgent attention by qualified medical personnel.
Eventually a woman who seemed to be coordinating finally asked that one woman go take the vitals of the casualty, and I heard another response that shook me to the bone.
Emi ti close o, mo fe ma lo le. In English: me I have closed o, I want to go home.
I wondered what happened to the sanctity of human life. Finally his vitals were taken, a bed was brought out from somewhere inside, a patient in the emergency ward transferred to that bed, and then the emergency bed/stretcher taken out to bring the casualty in. AFTER ALMOST AN HOUR!!!
Immediately he was brought in, they all began running helter-skelter to save his life, and I shook my head at the hypocrisy. As far as I was concerned if that man dies his blood is solely on the Surgical Emergency staff of the big government hospital in Ikeja.
What or who then do we blame?
The lack of beds?
The lackadaisical attitude of the staff?
Do we need divine intervention in the medical line?
If a teaching hospital can treat human life this way, then what do we expect from other hospitals?
Or do we need some staffs to be sacked so others can sit up?
As I shared my experience with a fellow staff in the office this morning she reminded me of the case of a mutual friend who was shot a few years ago by robbers and rushed to this same hospital. Lo and behold, NO BED!!!
How can this worrisome trend be allowed to continue? What is needed to be done?
DIVINE INTERVENTION OR SCAPEGOAT NEEDED?
by Jesugbamila Jesutofunmi .A
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