Electrocuted Unilag Student: The Medical Centre’s Side Of The Story

University Of Lagos Akoka Campus Medical Centre PHOTO: MODUPE ONANEYE

University Of Lagos Akoka Campus Medical Centre PHOTO: MODUPE ONANEYE

AT the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos everybody that enters the campus keeps looking at the scene of the high tension wire that fell on a student of the university, Oluchi Anekwe, in the night penultimate Tuesday. Anekwe, a 300-level student of Accounting was electrocuted on her way to the hostel by high-tension wire on that fateful day.

One can see even from afar that the high-tension wire was already rusty and one can see patching of the wire here and there right from the gate of the university to the scene of the incident. The Guardian learnt that the wire had been showing signs of faults for a while, and that the joined wires often sparked, yet the appropriate authorities did not act.

The road leading to UNILAG Medical Centre where Anekwe was rushed to after the ugly incident that took her life was smooth and free of traffic. Students were going in and out of the hospital in trickles for different reasons. Some of them went there to do their registrations and for others, it was for medical treatment.

The centre was clean. An ambulance was stationed at the entrance of the centre waiting to attend to any case of emergency. The nurses and doctors were seen attending to patients without any delay.

The Medical Director of the health facility, Dr. (Mrs.) Ramata Apampa was on leave when the incident happened.

“The information I got is that Anekwe was actually brought in dead. From the type of injury, it is clear that anybody who sustains such amount of injury from high tension wire, it is almost hundred per cent certain that the person is not likely to survive it.”

She added that the medical centre has all the necessary equipment to handle such an emergency and to resuscitate somebody who is unconscious.

“The equipment we have for resuscitation, a number of bigger hospitals don’t have it.”

She recalled that all the necessary things were done to save Anekwe from the clutch of death. “The doctors went ahead immediately to resuscitate her. She couldn’t be resuscitated because she was dead.”

Concerning the allegation that the doctors were asking for the school ID card of Anekwe before they can treat her, she stressed that they don’t ask such questions from patients in such a case of emergency.

“The first thing we do is to save life. You only ask questions that will assist you to manage the patient better. Any question that will hinder the management of the patient you don’t ask of it. Because we are talking about life here, you don’t want anything that will delay the patient coming round.

“We have had cases of people that we don’t even know at all, they were not even staff of the university or students of the university and when they were brought in for emergency, the first thing we did was to resuscitate them. That was what happened with this particular patient. Every minute counted and we did not ask anything like: What is your name; Where is your ID card? or such things.”

She said that it is only when it is not a case of emergency that the issue of identification comes in. She described the medical centre as one of the best of such medical centres in the country.

“The amount of work that we do here, the response time to patients is so short compared to what is obtainable elsewhere. I don’t want to debase any hospital. But we give priority to students who are on emergency. To the extent that we even had a conference recently. During which we called the Students’ Union executives together to have a dialogue with them to let them know how they can use the facility better, and how we can serve them better. I am sure that they actually agree that we are actually doing a lot much more than other places.”

She stressed that the doctors even go beyond the call of duty to treat their patients (students). “If you go into our wards you will discover that a good number of the bed is occupied by the students. If we have cause to refer them to other places they don’t want to leave.”

The Medical Director said that the students who are actually coming to the hospital for treatment don’t have any wrong impression about the hospital.

“We even have cases of alumni of the university making use of the medical centre. If we have not been treating them well, definitely they won’t be coming back to make use of the centre. Because of that we have contacted the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) to give us a package for our alumni who want to make use of the hospital.”

Apampa stressed that they update their equipment regularly and their X-ray machine is relatively new. “The university management does not waste time in approving anything concerning the medical centre. We don’t have any obsolete equipment.”

She added that the doctors and nurses are zealous about their work. “For this particular patient (Anekwe) in question, the doctors were speedy in attending to her. We have electricity 24/7. We have a standby generator incase of power disruption.”

She said the media should always find out the correct information, before releasing news to the public, so that such negative publicity will stop.

“It will be like you are looking for a sensational news and you just release false information to the public. It is really unfair on the medical centre to release news having to do with the centre without verifying them.”

She added that the media should have asked experts whether it is possible for somebody to survive such a high tension injury in the first place, before saying that the patient was brought into the hospital and they did not attend to her on time.

“Everybody wants to be the first to publish the information, to say that they are part of the news. I think that it is irresponsible; journalism it is unfair on us.”

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1 Comment
  • Izeobor

    Dr Apampa, you are saying what should be the case. You were not there during the incident as you said, why are you holding brief for the personnel who acted irresponsibly? I was expecting you to tell the whole world that you investigated the allegation, rather you are castigating the press for sensationalism. No Nigerian hospital will ever accept its shoddy treatment of patients. I was searched by hospital staff who were looking for “money” on an occasion when I was brought to a university teaching hospital(one of the best! in Nigeria) with my lower limbs paralyzed. I was left on the floor by the uncaring emergency staff(including the attending doctor on duty) for hours before a saucy nurse came to ask for money from me for me to be taken to an X-ray room. I don’t want to relive that harrowing experience. If I tell my story to the press and Dr Apampa is in charge of this “Death Clinic”, the face-saving statement would be put out. There is no amount of denial or blame game that should exculpate this hospital of Dr Apampa for negligence. Nigerians deserve better than this inhumanity.