Issues

March 28, 2015

LUTH made me a widower, Father of four cries out

LUTH made me a widower, Father of four cries out

BY EBUN SESSOU

“They have killed my wife, they have taken away my source of happiness.”

For Adeyemi Oduyoye, a printer, it was a monumental loss, in fact his greatest loss in life ever.   The traumatic transition from husband to widower, from a co-parent to a single parent, caring for four-month old baby and three other children may compound the range of emotions for the rest of his life.

Adeyemi-OduyoyeOduyoye says he lost his lovely wife in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, as a result of his inability to pay the N1.382, 700 hospital bill.   Folake Oduyoye, 35, was admitted September 17 following complications from a caesarian section carried out on her in a private hospital.

After a couple of weeks in LUTH, she was discharged but unable to go home because of her husband’s inability to pay the bill.   She was detained and within the period developed other complications.

Even as she battled another complication in the hospital, Saturday Vanguard gathered that she was not attended to on the excuse that she was  yet to defray the initial medical bill. Her condition grew from bad to worse until she passed on 45 days after. Folake’s husband, Oduyoye narrated his story to Saturday Vanguard. “I don’t know where to start from.

I demand justice for the death of my wife in the hands of the management of LUTH. My wife was a fashion designer. She was using the business to support the family. She was everything I got. LUTH must pay me N50 million as compensation for killing my wife,” he cried out.

“Folake developed complications after she put to bed at Midas Touch Hospital, a private hospital in Aguda, Surulere, Lagos. She was referred to and admitted in LUTH.   But, she died at LUTH, because she was abandoned by the management of the hospital.

“At the time my wife needed medical support, I was financially crippled to pay the hospital bills and the management of LUTH refused to treat her. They also refused to release her for me to go for treatment elsewhere. So, she died. “She delivered the baby through a Caesarean Session. Although the surgery was successful, it was discovered that she had infection (Posterior Reversible Encephelopathic Syndrome) a few days later.

So, she was referred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi Araba, Lagos, on September 7, 2014, at Accident and Emergency, (A and E) Ward, where she was admitted. We paid for the tests conducted and bought drugs.” “Later, she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where she was treated for three days. She was later transferred to the theatre for surgery and we were told to pay N250 000.

“We paid the N250 000 on September 10, 2014 before she was taken back to the ICU. We also paid for all the drugs prescribed for her. There were times I bought drugs worth N35,000 and N25,000 on a daily basis. I also paid for series of tests including X-ray and scan conducted. At other times I bought drugs worth between N8,000, N6,000 and N3,000.  “She was kept in the ICU for 31 days. She was treated and was fine and was then transferred to Ward 4 where she spent two weeks.

“She was discharged on October 31, 2014. She gave me the discharge letter and said I should go and pay at the blood bank. “Patients or their relatives were required to pay some money at the blood bank before they would be given any bill. At the blood bank, I was asked to pay N54,000 which I did.  “Before then, we had donated nine pints of blood by nine different people who were my family members. We were told by the management of LUTH that anyone who donated a pint of blood in LUTH would also pay N6,000 for screening of the blood.

“I paid for the screening of those pints of blood. I was also told my wife was given nine pints of blood. We donated blood and paid for the screening. But, if you do not use the blood, you will still pay for screening. “I later went to the spillover department for clearance and later went to the Assessor and I was given a receipt of the hospital bill. They gave me a bill of N1, 382,700, regardless of all the money I already paid for drugs, tests and scan.

“At that point, I went to the Acting Chief Medical Director (CMD) Dr. Chris Bode for a waiver. At first, I did not see him but after several attempts I met him.  “Surprisingly, when I saw him, he did not allow me to make my request. He asked if I wanted him to give me money.   Without mincing words, “I told him about my ugly situation and I appealed for a waiver and structured payment to offset the balance monthly. I also told him how I paid N300 000 leaving a balance of N1, 082,700 to pay in installments. I even wrote a letter dated 11th November, 2014 to that effect. Folake-Oduyoye-1

But instead of showing some compassion, he told me to go and pay the money and walked out on me.  “I did not relent.   I wrote another letter for “Bill Appeal” where I appreciated all the people who had helped in saving my wife.  “I also pleaded for her to be discharged so as to be properly taken care of. At that time, I noticed that she had developed another health problem and nobody was attending to her any longer.

“I gave a copy of the letter to the CMD’s Secretary who advised me to take it to the CMD’s office. The letter was received on November 5, 2014. They signed for it and told me they would deliver it to the CMD.  “There was no response from the CMD’s office, so I went back the third day. Unfortunately, I was told nothing was done. “I went to the social worker who told me that the letter must have been attended to.

“The next day, I went there, but still, nothing happened. All attempts were to no avail. I was also telling them about the state of my wife’s health and how urgently she needed help.

“And I was pleading with them to allow my wife to go for treatment elsewhere but they ignored me. They were no longer treating her because they said she had been discharged. So, she was abandoned. While I was going up and down for the review of the bill, her condition grew from bad to worse. She developed a severe cough and when I pleaded with a doctor to treat her, he told me that they had discharged her; that there was nothing he could do to help.

“Then, I ran back to the management for help because her condition was getting worse. They did not listen to me. They even used security men to monitor me and other patients thinking we wanted to run away. I met the Chief Matron and complained about my wife’s condition, but she did not attend to her.  “Folake was detained in the hospital for 44 days after she had been discharged. Even when I complained to the CMD, he said he was not the doctor; that I should go and meet the doctor who attended to my wife.

“When they finally agreed to my terms, the social worker said I should go and bring a guarantor but warned that I should not bring anybody from outside the hospital. I brought a lawyer. He was rejected. That was the time nurses were on strike. A few days later, my wife died. “From October 31, 2014, the day she was discharged, till December 13, 2014, the day she died around 2 am, no doctor, or nurse attended to her.

“It was the management of LUTH that killed my wife. They even told me not to carry her corpse. I need justice.  Saturday Vanguard met with the Public Relation Officer of LUTH, Mrs. Hope Nwoholo, who said the issue had been put to rest and that the family had carried the corpse. But, it was another story completely, when the family staged a protest on Thursday, January 29, 2015 in LUTH after they had received the corpse.

Until her death, Folake, 35, was a lover of children, and her baby was just eight days old when the whole problem began. Her elder sister has been taking care of the baby, Vanguard learnt.

LUTH reacts

Prof. Chris Bode, the Acting Chief Medical Director of LUTH, said that the Folake was admitted unconscious as an emergency case on Sept. 17, following complications from a caesarian operation performed in a private hospital. He said that numerous surgeries, specialised tests, interventions, dialysis, drugs and other consumables were committed in treating the deceased which according to him amounted to N1.5 million.

He stated that the family of the woman paid only N300, 000 and requested for a waiver of N1.2 million. “However, the condition of Oduyoye suddenly became poor and she died of pulmonic complications on Dec.13. A post-mortem examination will be performed to ascertain cause of her death,” he said.

Civil rights groups react  baby-Timilehin

The groups, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Women Arise for Change Initiative in a walk against what they termed, “Stop needless death of women giving birth” vehemently condemned detention of women whose husbands are financially incapable of paying hospital bills.

During the walk, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the WARDC Executive Director, described the woman’s death as one of the many unnecessary and preventable deaths that occurred in the country.

Akiyode-Afolabi said that 144 Nigerian women died daily as a result of maternal complications. “It is very unfortunate that Folake died in LUTH after she was detained for 43 days because she could not pay her hospital bill of about N1.4 million. “This is contrary to Sections 32 and 35 of the Nigerian Constitution. (Section 32 is about power to make regulations while Section 35 is on right to personal liberty).

“Over 100 women are being detained in LUTH and some other hospitals across the country, because they cannot pay their hospital bills. Also, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, the President, Women Arise Initiative, urged the three-tiers of government to give priority attention to the health of women and children. According to her, Nigeria ranks second in the list of countries with high rate of maternal mortality.

“Our walk today is to prove that we are tired of losing our women to maternal death and hospital negligence. She urged review of the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that it would care better for the health of Nigerian women. In his contribution, Ayodele Adesanmi, Media Relation Development Communications Networks, condemned detention of women, medical negligence as well as insensitivity of healthcare workers. According to him, “Government should be accountable to its promises. People should not die as a result of child birth. Human right should be taken as priority,” Adesanmi said.