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Alleged attackers of UNIMEDTH staffers face trial

Alleged attackers of UNIMEDTH staffers face trial

By Sunmola Olowookere & Kemi Olatunde
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Attacks on medical workers by hoodlums and relatives of those who lost their loved ones have left the lives of medical professionals in Nigeria in danger.

At the University of Medical Sciences and Teaching Hospital, Akure Complex, the attacks are gradually becoming a recurring decimal  as it is becoming more volatile and almost beyond the capacity of the security agents attached to the hospital.

To seek redress to the constant threat to the lives of staff and the patients by the management of the hospital has for the first time taken the current group of people that attacked its medical personnel and destroyed some hospital properties to court.

The management dragged, the six relatives of the deceased Faloye Kemi, Faloye Kole, Faloye Tuyi, Faloye Lekan, Faloye Niyi and Faloye Ayo before an Akure Magistrate Court on a four count charge ranging from conduct likely to cause breach of peace, wilful and malicious damage to assault.

The accused persons were arraigned before Magistrate R.A Olumilua and were alleged to have destroyed one oxygen cylinder valued at N110, 000 and beaten up two personnel with the Hospital;  one Alasoluyi Olubunmi and Iyagba Oladapo while destroying their clothing and wristwatch valued at N4,200.

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them.

The prosecutor, one Martin Olowofeso had applied for an adjournment to enable him study the case file and arrange his witnesses in preparation for trial.

The trial Magistrate, R.A Olumilua while urging parties to explore windows of settling the case out of court had subsequently adjourned the case till August 12, 2019 for reports on settlement or hearing.

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Speaking with The Hope, the Physician In Charge (PIC). Dr. Adesina Akintan expressed that such occurrence was becoming rampant and hoped that when the current offenders are brought to book, it would serve as a deterrence to others.

According to the PIC, a woman, Safiu Kemi was brought to the Accident and Emergency section of UNIMEDTH, Akure Complex with a case of complications arising from criminal abortion.

His words “she was reffered here from a private hospital. She was brought in around 10.45 a.m and was promptly attended to. The doctors on duty tried to resuscitate her and administered oxygen because she came in with sceptic shock, cardiovascular collapse and low blood pressure.”

He stated that she was already in a coma at the point of her admission which was why the oxygen was administered.

He explained further that the doctors in obstetrics and gynecology department of the hospital had joined those in the Accident and Emergency section as they tried to save her life.

“Despite all efforts to save her, she gave up the ghost at the point of changing the oxygen tank,” he disclosed.

According to an eyewitness, her family members got angry and descended on the staff and beat them black and blue. Their grouse was that the doctors did not replace the empty oxygen tank on time which made the patient to give up the ghost.

The PIC however said that according to the record available to him, she was still on the remnants of the last oxygen tank when she breathed her last while her family members that had been sent to buy another tank were recalled as there was no further need for it.

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The staff of Accident and Emergency section also alleged that the mob destroyed the hospital windows during the attack.

Akintan added that he accused broke the lips of one nurse and wounded another health attendant.

He stated that the policemen at the hospital could not curtail the mob and had to call for reinforcement who were able to arrest six people out of the mob and detained them at the ‘B’ Division.

In total, he said four members of staff were wounded in the attack.

He therefore promised that the management of the hospital was determined to see the issue to a logical conclusion.

He stated that the corpse was successfully taken back from the family while trying to run away with it and had been the security escorting the corpse to the  deposited in  the morgue.

One of the victims, Iyaagba Oladapo said that her cloth was torn to shred.

Attacks on government health establishment and the staff is a trend that is becoming a recurrent evil in our society. Tempers easily flare up when families of patients feel that their sick ones are not getting the required attention or care, and they resort to taking laws into their own hands rather than seek redress through the proper channel.

Things tend to get out of hand especially when such sick one eventually passes away. In their grief, reasoning often become clouded.

Some actually claimed that medical personnel in government owned hospitals most often are not attentive to their duties.

However, the question is; does unleashing mayhem on the defenseless medical workers offer any help?

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Speaking on the issue, the physician in charge of the hospital explained that the trend cannot be addressed only by beefing up security around the hospital.

He urged  members of the public to have a change of attitude towards hospital staff as they were employed to give care and hence would not stand idle while they lose their patients.

A retired nurse who does not want her name in print recalled how an expectant father slapped some nurses of the hospital in 2004.  She claimed that they had brought his pregnant wife to the hospital for delivery and the woman was already in labour and could no longer walk.

The husband who could not carry her began to call for help but the nurses in the obstetrics and gynecology department then did not hear him call for help on time.  By the time, they got to her, the heavily pregnant woman had given birth in the open and in the full glare of the people.

She said that attack on nurses, doctors and other hospital staff was not a new things.  Family members of patients in the hospital usually believed that medical personnel are not doing enough for the sick people.

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