*That family should be grateful to us, CMD, *UBTH lied, Akpan family lawyer
By SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
In the last edition of our Saturday Vanguard, we reported a case of one Mr and Mrs Augustine Akpan, an indigene
of Akwa Ibom State who searched for the fruit of the womb for about twelve years of marriage. However, God answered their prayers and gave them a set of twins.
But unfortunately, they lost the set of twins at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) after a caesarian session. Mr Akpan accused the authorities of the hospital of maltreating his wife before they lost their set of twins.
He alleged that the management of the hospital threw the wife ,Grace out of the hospital bed due to the failure of Mr Akpan to pay the hospital bills. But Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Prof Michael Ibadin was infuriated after the report by Saturday Vanguard and addressed the media last Tuesday, spending about thirty minutes to castigate the Saturday Vanguard reporter for reporting the views of Mr and Mrs Akpan even when we quoted UBTH PRO.
In his press conference, Prof. Ibadin explained: “This patient was brought to this hospital without being booked. That means for the period she was pregnant she was not registered here. They have been married for over ten years with no child.
Then you also found out that she did not register anywhere else. So the woman was pregnant, 38 weeks of pregnancy. Which means even though she was carrying twins in her tummy, that diagnosis was not known to the doctors or to anybody else.
And carrying twins pregnancy is a high risk pregnancy. At the time the woman was brought here , she had convulsed for three hours in a traditional birth attendant (TBA). A woman was pregnant with twins and she went to a traditional birth attendant who wanted to take the high risk delivery and the woman was there. We don’t know for how long the woman had been there but evidence available to me suggests that the woman has been there for a long time because the woman had convulsed for three hours continuously.
So when she came here, she was no longer conscious. And for such cases in a place like this, we see them as emergency and our doctors swung into action immediately. The record we have also suggested that while she was convulsing in that traditional place, she fell down, sustained bruises around the eye and when the doctors eventually evaluated her, it was obvious the woman has lost her sight from the series of convulsion and her blood pressure was high at the time she came.
At that point, she was not really fully in labour because when a woman wants to deliver, the uterus will get to a level that the baby can easily come out. But this one was just 3cm, which means she was not fully in labour. It means she only went to the TBA place because of her problem. But I think they misunderstood the situation to mean she was in labour.
At that point the woman came, what was the doctors expected to do? To first of all establish the woman. The woman came at about 11:30am.At the time they took the woman to the theater was about three hours later because you need to do some stabilization before you can take her to the theater. They discovered that the first baby had died already inside her womb.
Then when they delivered the second one, the second one was exhausted inside. So when the baby came out, the baby was not responding. Because when normally you deliver a baby, you slap the baby and the baby will start crying. Even when they did all that for ten minutes ,the baby did not respond. That woman was transfused with two units of blood immediately.
And beyond that, when the baby has been taken out, the woman was in a very bad state and that was why we took her to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Only people in very bad situations go there, when they are close to dying and they require support.
So the woman was taken to ICU and she spent five days in that place. And when you are in ICU, you require a machine to breath because you may not be able to breathe yourself and you will be connected to gadgets that will be monitoring the blood pressure, the pulse and your respiration. She was eventually discharged from the ICU after five days and was moved back to the ward. By the time she was discharged eventually her blood pressure has normalized.
The baby that survived was taken to SCDU and managed but it eventually died because the situation was very bad when she was brought here. She stayed in the hospital for eleven days before she was discharged.
Then when Akpan brought the wife to the hospital, Akpan did not deposit one kobo. We did not insist that unless he deposited money, she will not be treated. Because the policy of this hospital is that when you come, we are prepared to give you services but you will pay us later.
And that was what was done in this case. Even the blood transfusion that was given to the woman was brought from our blood bank, no body insisted that unless he provided money the blood will not be given. Of course, after the treatment she regained her sight, She is well, she is a normal person now. She was given a bill of about N200,000 for herself and for the baby. And overnight stay in ICU is about N20,000, so for five days that was already a hundred thousand.
For the remaining six days, that is the equivalent of the remaining N200,000 plus what the baby expended. Of course, we are all reasonable people, some body that had spent eleven days in the hospital, there is no way the hospital would not have committed materials and resources. If we had extended the gesture to you by treating your wife, common sense will tell you that we will also asked you to pay back some of those things we have expended.
“But rather than thank us or praise us for what we have done, he went to a lawyer who now said we are detaining the woman against her own wish. Yes, we render humanitarian services. We had to render that humanitarian services within the ambit of the fact that we are able to deliver effectively.
If you came to the hospital and you are not able to benefit from the services, then the hospital will close down. We on our own from time to time, write off bills for patients. We also recognize the fact that all fingers are not equal. But when we found out that a patient cannot pay, what we do was to observe them for some time because if you just say go, people will take advantage of that.
If A comes and say I cannot pay and you allow him go immediately and B knows, he will not pay even if he has money. That is the way our people behave. So what we do is that if you don’t have money, we will tell you to appeal to your relations or your church. Sometimes a staff of the hospital can sign for you, that if you did not pay we will deduct it from the salary of the staff. We do all these to stretch them to know who is genuine and who is not genuine. Beyond that we have a department of Medical Social Services, any patient who is unable to meet out demand are referred genuinely to that department. And they will do some investigations to see whether you are correct or not.
There is no month we don’t wave up to N2-3million bill. We will say go because we recognize that you cannot pay and we cannot also keep you indefinitely because you cannot pay. There are even situations where the Governor (Oshiomhole) had come to the hospital to pay bills on behalf of individuals.
Because once you create the impression that every body that comes to say I don’t have money to pay hospital bills and you allow them to go, no body will pay hospital bills. And before you know it, the hospital will crumble. And we did not see anything different with what Akpan experienced and what other persons has experienced.
Even if he does not have money, does that now mean that you don’t know where your wife can benefit fully from medical care. You did not take your wife to a clinic, you did not take her to a maternity, you took your wife to a TBA place and the woman was severely hypertensive. But for luck and the fact that they came in quickly, that woman would have died. As I speak with you now, this hospital has 560 patients, that is the highest in the country you can have as in patient in any hospital. If we are not doing well, will the patients come here? But the impression they want to create is that this management is irresponsible”.,
However, counsel to Mr and Mrs Akpan, Barr. Jeffrey Uwoghiren reacted swiftly: “It is disingenuous and a blatant lie for the CMD of UBTH to claim that not a dime was paid by Mr Akpan before treatment started on the 15th when she was brought to the hospital. It is a generally known fact that UBTH does not commence treatment from anybody without collecting deposit and they will issue you receipt which you will now take to the Pharmacy before drugs are given to you. It was in consequence of this that Mr Akpan paid the sum of N10,300 as deposit before treatment commenced.
And it was paid into a UBA account no 02710050000029 belonging to the hospital. With teller number 0659865. I was shocked that the CMD could not address the issue of false imprisonment of Mrs Akpan.
All through the press conference, no where did the management of the UBTH addressed the issues of false imprisonment wherein we queried the authorities of the hospital their on their right to detain Mrs Akpan Grace between on the 21st of April when she lost the second child and on the 4th June when she was finally released.
Secondly, it is not true that our client Mrs Grace Akpan patronized traditional birth attendants prior to her coming to the hospital. As wife of Okada rider, who is clearly indigent and poor, she had limited knowledge of antenatal facilities in UBTH, coupled with the fact that this was her first pregnancy after about twelve years of marriage.
Again, the management of UBTH has not categorically denied that they made Mrs Akpan suffer undue distress by not attending to her on time owing to the hospital claim that she did not register for antenatal in the hospital even when Mrs Akpan was showing serious evidence of intense labour and pain. So it is not surprising that the cause of death as stated by the hospital in the death certificate issued by UBTH six days after her admission was as a result of exhaustion.
It is therefore shocking to note that the CMD of the hospital is now saying that Mrs Akpan was not maltreated when in the actual fact, they humiliated and visited the worst form of maltreatment on the poor indigent woman that just lost her twins.
We will like to know under what condition the management of UBTH threw her out of her hospital bed and threw her to an empty mosquito infested floor and thereafter, charged her N1500 daily for sleeping on the floor .We have the receipts of payment of sleeping on the floor so much for medical treatment. The issue of false and illegal detention of indigent patients is generally known in both private and government owned hospitals which is a terrible reflection of our health care policy.
This practice of detention of indigent patients is purely illegal and hospitals should find better ways to collect their debts without resorting to criminal processes which is the problem we have in UBTH”.