December 12, 2021

How I lost my 4-yr-old son to incompetence of health workers in Lagos — Bereaved father


By Idowu Bankole and Bose Adelaja

A Lagosian, Mr Bashiru Wahab, on Sunday, narrated how he lost his four-year-old son to what he described as incompetence on the part of Lagos State health workers.

The bereaved father, a Businessman told Vanguard that his late son, Bashiru Kehinde who was in Nursery Two, died of stomach complications at a Lagos hospital.

In an emotional laden voice, Wahab who lives in Egbeda in the Alimosho area of Lagos said he decided to share his experience in his quest to demand justice for his late son and prevent a repeat of such costly mistake.

The bereaved father said the journey to his son’s death started on the morning of Friday, 3rd December 2021, when the deceased complained of a stomach problem. In his words, “He was vomiting heavily, crying, saying he felt a lot of pain. As parents, we couldn’t watch him writhe in pain and we drove quickly to a nearby primary healthcare centre called Ipinlerere Health Center in Alimosho.

“On arrival, we met a couple of administrative staff but no doctor was available to attend to our son despite that the case was an emergency and my son was vomiting seriously coupled with the pains he was experiencing.

As if the staff could read Wahab’s mind on that day, one of them apologized for the lapses. He said, ” One of them apologised and referred us to General Hospital, Orile, Agege. By then, my son was looking pale and helpless.

“He was urgently admitted to the General Hospital and we were told to buy injections, drips and some other medical items, which we did.”

“We also did a blood test, and he was passed some drips but there was no improvement.

“We were told a doctor was coming to do a checkup on him very early the following day, and also give us a report. Unfortunately, the doctor did not arrive until 5 pm to check on him but the report was given at about 7 pm while he also referred us to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.

“It was getting late by that time and my son was defecating, vomiting and screaming. My wife asked the staff if the Ambulance could be used. They said it used to cost N5,000, but the price had probably increased.

” I was upset and asked myself, ‘do we need to pay for the services of an ambulance during emergencies? I hurriedly carried my son and beckoned at my wife to leave the hospital, rushed back to my car and put my son in the back seat.

“By this time, my wife broke into tears because our baby’s condition was worsened.

“We got to LASUTH at about 11 pm, yet, it took over an hour to get the attention of the medical workers.

“At that critical time, we were forced to register and pay for a card. After wasting time to get the card, we were then told there was no bed after which we were referred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Ebute Meta at midnight.

“One of them told us that our boy was in a critical condition and they couldn’t admit us without a bed.

“If you are familiar with Lagos, you will know how unsafe some areas have been lately. While we were in LASUTH, a man ran into the premises saying he was almost robbed at the junction when two men pulled a gun at him, so he ran into the hospital. I was scared by his statement and ruminated on how to transport my son to Ebute Meta at this time of the night. However, we summoned courage and drove to FMC.

“On arrival, they were quick to respond to us but told us that we needed to see a specialist. According to them, the referral note from the previous hospital claimed that our boy had stomach troubles and we needed a paediatrician.

” 20 minutes after, a surgeon, one Dr Fakunle arrived who was kind and proactive by requesting for an x-ray some medical items which we provided. The result revealed that our boy had intestinal obstruction, that we could have lost him if another minute was wasted.

“He attended to our son immediately and passed a tube through his nose to the belly, to clear the obstruction. After this, he assured us that our boy would be fine and the treatment confirmed this. Later, the doctor left and handed it over to a young male nurse Obafemi, and that was when my son’s condition relapsed.

“The nurse looked unkempt, appeared nonchalant, and distracted. I asked him the type of medication he was to give my son but he looked at me like I was crazy for asking such a question and muted “drip.” As he was installing the drip, he was distracted and I was worried.

“In less than five minutes, my boy began to scream and shake aggressively and I knew something was wrong. I ran out of the ward screaming, help o, my boy is shaking o, help, where’s the doctor?

“At this juncture, I found the Obafemi in the lobby chatting with one of the cleaners and I approached him to have a look at my boy and help find the doctor but he ignored me. I kept begging for his attention but there was no response as he stayed glued to his mobile phone.

“My wife then came out screaming, saying that Kehinde was dying. She knelt on the floor begging the nurse to come and check our son. That’s when he responded that the doctor had left and that Kehinde was shaking because the drip was supplying him energy but we did not know what he meant.

“I asked my wife to return to the ward and stayed with our son while I sort things out. I was making a scene at this point, requesting to see any available matron or doctor but no one responded. They kept saying my boy will be fine. After creating a scene, a nurse volunteered to check my son only to find out that Kehinde had died in his mother’s arms.

“The nurse started to apologise, saying he was sorry for ignoring me. I was screaming on top of my voice cursing whosoever was responsible for my predicament.

“The death touched me to the extent that I returned to the lobby to tell whoever cared to listen that the governor will hear about this atrocity.

“This appeared to have drawn the attention of a matron who came out alongside a man who claimed to be the Public Relations Officer PRO, of the hospital and both pleaded with me but I was upset to discover that these set of people were in the hospital when I was screaming and begging that someone should attend to my son. 

“Kehinde and his twin brother would have turned to five in a couple of months but he is gone to be with his creator. I am helpless and want justice on his death because my son did not deserve to die.

“I want the government to provide answers to the following; Why did the doctor abandon my son after an operation? Why was he left in the hands of an incapable nurse? Why was my cry for help ignored? Why did my son or anyone have to wait for hours or days to access medical treatments?

“I am calling on the government to investigate this and hold the hospital accountable. Please help me share this message. My son didn’t have to die.” He added.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the PRO of FMC proved abortive as several calls made to the number given has his line were not answered.

Vanguard News Nigeria