By Evelyn Usman
A two-week-old ailing baby has been rescued from her patents who refused doctors from carrying out blood transfusion on her, on religious ground.
The baby girl (names withheld) who was delivered prematurely on December 18, 2019, in a private hospital in Surulere area of Lagos, to Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu, was discovered to be severely jaundiced.
Doctors, recommended for an urgent blood transfusion to save her but her parents who are members of the Jehovah Witnesses and on Medical Insurance, opposed the blood transfusion, citing religious belief.
They reportedly took the baby home.
But a concerned resident who got wind of the deteriorating state of the baby, informed the Office of the Public Defender, OPD, consequent upon which its Director, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, swung into action to save the baby.
Explaining the measures taken, the agency’s Head, Public Affairs, Mr Mamud Hassan, said, ” The agency immediately, got relevant court order by invoking relevant sections of the Lagos Child`s Rights Law of 2015 and Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of 2016 and in collaboration with the Police at Adeniji- Adele and Orile stations, the baby was eventually evacuated from her parents’ home after stiff resistance from other mobilized members of the Jehovah Witness on 30th December 2019.
“The baby was taken to Massey Street Children Hospital. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the baby that weighed 2.2kg at birth, weighed less than 1.7kg at the time of rescue, due to lack of medical attention after being kept at home for one week and five days by her recalcitrant parents”.
The Director, who visited the baby at the hospital weekend, said she(baby) was on free medical treatment in line with the current administration’s policy of free and qualitative medical services for Lagosians.
She stated that no responsible and responsive government would fold its arms and allow any parent or guardian act ignorantly on religious grounds in a manner that would jeopardise the life of any other person, especially children or wards under their care.
She said, “the current administration in its avowed commitment to provide good governance and security will leave no stone unturned when protecting rights of women, children, the vulnerable and indigent residents of Lagos State irrespective of gender and religion”
The agency according to her, was not oblivious of the fact that some persons whose rights were being violated could not access justice due to ignorance and poverty.
Adeyemi therefore, urged members of the public to take advantage of the OPD’s free legal services to get redress, protection and enforcement of their rights, assuring that the State Government would continue to work assiduously until the supremacy of the rule of Law reigned in the State.
To achieve this, she urged members of the public to always furnish the agency with relevant information on where human rights were being violated , for necessary legal action.