Igbobi Hospital: Case Of Beauty And The Beast

National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos.

National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos.

A visit to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos does not reveal anything out of place on the surface. A well-tarred road takes one from the hospital gates to the main hospital building, with well-tended grasses dotting each side of the road.

The hospital is properly divided into several departments and the departments are well labeled. Security officers from a private security firm can be found at almost every corner of the hospital, asking you what you need and directing you properly. A visit to the outpatients’ ward directly behind the plaster unit and casualty units did not show anything out of place either.

A couple of the buildings looked very old and decrepit but others were actually looking a bit manageable. As to be expected, there were all manner of broken bones and people in varying degrees of pain, all waiting to see a doctor. After speaking briefly with the receptionist/cashier, I requested to use their toilet. The toilet floor looked like it was just mopped but the toilet looked like it hadn’t been washed in a long time. Apart from the terrible smell that oozed from it, it was very dirty.

Expectedly, there was no water to flush. The toilets in the casualty ward weren’t any different. Going round the hospital, there are taps and wash hand basins everywhere, but most of them had no water coming out of them. A few had trickles of water but most were dry. The taps and wash hand basins are a wonderful idea, bearing in mind that it is a hospital environment but of what use are taps that have no water coming out of them? Speaking with a worker that refused to be named, she admitted that they were understaffed and the hospital needed more workers, as the workload at the hospital was pretty much. She says that even as understaffed as they were, they all strove to do their best and deliver the best care possible despite the fact that they were overwhelmed daily by the volume of patients coming through their gates.

A patient at the bone ward spoke with The Guardian and she also refused to give her name. According to her, she was involved in a ghastly accident in April of this year, a day to the national elections. She has been a patient at the hospital ever since and has no idea when she would leave.

On her way home that fateful day, a trailer that was trying to reverse at a round about, lost control and hit her. She says that her quick leap into a nearby gutter saved her life; else she would have been completely crushed to death.

Sadly, she lost one leg and the other is still in a critical condition. She praised the doctors at the hospital, and credits them for saving her life, when everyone thought she was better off dead. She says the doctors are very dedicated and go out of their way to help her and other patients. She adds that she might have been in a better position than she was presently if not for the strike that affected the course of her treatment. She points to another woman, telling me that the woman was involved in a Danfo accident.

The woman had both legs amputated, but looked to be doing well. She goes on to add that Igbobi (as it is popularly called) is a last resort for many that have wasted time and money in several private hospitals. “When they realize that their patient’s situation is getting worse, that is when they remember Igbobi,” she added.

Everyday, she says, a lot of patients are brought in from several hospitals after their situation had retrogressed and Igbobi never turns anyone away.

Despite their wonderful care, she acknowledges that more could be done. The wards are in a sorry state, the beds are poor and the facilities leave much to be desired, she concluded.

Trying to get a staff at the hospital to talk was virtually impossible. They had all been warned not to speak to the press and when you ask them any question, you are promptly told to speak with the hospital’s public relation person. As at the time of writing this story, the P.R person was unavailable for comments. I asked to speak with the hospital administrator in person and was promptly informed that I couldn’t speak with him, as he was unavailable too. I was told to come back with a letter-headed letter, specifically requesting what I needed.

On when I would get a feedback if I came back with the letter, the secretary I spoke with was vague, telling me I would get a reply when it was ready. Pleading that this process could take a while, and requesting even a phone number, I was rebuffed. Only a letter could get me what I wanted, he insisted.

Another worker at the outpatient’s ward who also refused to be named said they couldn’t speak to the press because when they did so in the past, the story was twisted and the hospital was painted in a bad light. Even after several assurances that we only wanted to bring the plight of public hospitals to the limelight, he refused and added that they had no problems at Igbobi and were satisfied with their situation.

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