Two Federal Hospitals Trade Words Over Lawyer’s Death

Two Federal Hospitals Trade Words Over Lawyer’s Death

Two Federal Hospitals Trade Words Over Lawyer’s Death

When 37-year-old Alex Ofehe, a lawyer, left home for surgeries at the Federal Staff Hospital in Jabi, Abuja on October 23, little did he know that death was lurking around the corner.

 A few days after the surgeries, he suffered severe pains and developed swellings on the stomach to the extent that he started passing blood as urine and stool.

Ofehe was taken back into the theatre on October 30 to clean the wounds of previous surgeries.

But rather than do that, his family members alleged that the hospital repeated the same surgical procedures on his intestines in a “suspicious” circumstances.

The surgery was said to be successful because it was performed by the three most experienced consultant surgeons in Abuja, including one from the National Hospital.

But after the surgeries, the doctors at FSH were said to have requested for blood with which to resuscitate the patient.

Ironically, Ofehe’s case worsened four hours after the blood transfusion.  He was consequently referred to the National Hospital.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the National Hospital refused to admit the lawyer two and half hours after he was brought and he eventually died inside the FSH ambulance that took him there.

The managements of FSH and National Hospital are now trading blames over the lawyer’s death.

Ofehe was buried in his home town, Oghara-Iyede in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State on November 24.

The family, in a letter by their lawyer, Mr. Anthony Ejumejowo, to the Medical Director of FSH, Dr. C.I. Igwilo, accused the hospital of negligence.

A similar letter was sent to the Medical Director of National Hospital and the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyewuchi Chukwu, calling for investigation of the incident.

In the letter to FSH, Ejumejowo said, “Our client strongly suspects that there was a deliberate attempt to cover up the negligence of the surgeons and knowing that the deceased had no chance of surviving, sent the deceased to die outside your hospital deliberately.

“We hereby demand an explanation and comprehensive report of everything that transpired between the period that the deceased was admitted and the period that he died under the care of your hospital.”

The Medical Director of FSH, Igwilo, in her letter dated November 7 admitted that “the deceased was noticed to have developed some complications that necessitated a second surgery.”

According to him, Ofehe suddenly started bleeding from the stomach and was passing altered blood in his stool and was vomiting profusely on the evening of the next day after he had been adjudged by clinical and laboratory parameters to have improved.

Igwilo said in view of the severity of the bleeding, Ofehe was transfused with four pints of blood and was on the fifth one when he was moved to the National Hospital due to the blood loss, massive transfusions he had received and recurrent attacks of asthma.

She said, “The patient was eventually referred to the National Hospital, Abuja with ongoing blood transfusion with another extra pint of blood taken along in the hospital ambulance.

“FSH did all that was reasonable and professionally possible within our disposal. One of the surgeons even had to donate his own blood during resuscitation. There was no negligence on our part; he was stabilised and referred to the National Hospital where his chances of survival would have been better.”

However, the spokesperson for the National Hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, told PUNCH Metro that most of the allegations of negligence against the hospital were not true.

 He said some hospitals had cultivated the habit of bringing “dead” patients to National Hospital, adding that it was only when cases of some patients had become too bad that they were brought to the NH.

To check the trend, Haastrup said the management had now decided that before patients would be admitted, comprehensive checks would be carried out to ascertain whether they were brought in alive and their chances of survival.

He said, “I know that there is no way we will carry out a surgery without a consent form (to be filled by the patient or a family member). Let me find out the details; but the problem with National Hospital is that when medical cases become bad outside, they will rush them to National Hospital.

“Patients will be rushed from other hospitals to us when their cases have become so bad. We will do our best but when the patients eventually die, they will attribute the blame to National Hospital calling it negligence.

“I have seen cases where we saved lives. But some cases are so bad before they are referred to National Hospital. Even some of the patients would have been dead before they bring them to National Hospital us. Some of the hospitals will put oxygen on dead patients and rush them down here.”

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