Inadequate Bed Space: LASUTH’s Nightmare
On getting to LASUTH, Raymond was told by medical personnel on duty that there would not be any bed space for his wife, except any of the patients in the emergency ward died. They exchanged contacts and he was told to call back in a few hours’ time for update. Raymond was still on his way to meet his wife at Gbagada General Hospital when call came in from one of the doctors at LASUTH that he should bring his wife since the hospital just lost a patient.
Franca may be considered fortunate for securing a bed space at LASUTH, although she died a few weeks later at the hospital. The Guardian learnt that some patients have been technically turned back, or referred by the hospital to general hospitals in Lagos, because of inadequate bed space. That was the case of Mr. John Joseku, who worked into the hospital complaining of severe pain. The Guardian was told that he was referred to Gbagada General Hospital for liver abscess, a pus-filled mass inside the liver condition. Joseku was again referred from Gbagada General Hospital to another general hospital in Lagos. He got frustrated and went home where he died few days later.
Although the names of Franca and Joseku have been changed, their stories are real.
A medical doctor who works in LASUTH speaking anonymously told The Guardian that bed space is one of the biggest challenges facing LASUTH. “Sometimes, as staff we have to wade in when we have relatives as a patients” to secure a bed space, he said.
He added that the renovation of Ayinke House for more than five years now is also posing a lot of challenges for the hospital. Ayinke House used to be maternity arm of LASUTH, until it was put up for renovation.
Adamu explained that the hospital is equipped with baseline equipment. “In terms of equipment, Lagos State Government is trying,” he said. “But there are some specialised equipment we do not have in LASUTH. We do not have equipment like CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other top equipment,” Adamu said, adding that BT Health and Diagnostic Center, a public-private partnership (PPP) project located within LASUTH does CT scan.
He explained that the presence of BT centre has rendered LASUTH medical laboratory under-utilised to the detriment of patients.
A nurse at the hospital, Mrs. Rita Babatunde (not her real name) revealed that the lackadaisical attitude of some consultants in the hospital is a great challenge facing the hospital.
Babatunde said: “In most cases, we see consultants who will not come to hospital only for them to be giving instructions on phone, even when they have not seen the patient they are dishing out instruction on. There was a case of my relative who was brought to LASUTH. On getting there, the doctor on duty was confused. He said the blood pressure was very high. A consultant was giving him instructions over the phone on the type of injection we should buy. The consultant called again that the doctor should not give the injection, adding that if he gave the injection, the BP would crash to cause some problems. The doctor did not know what to do, and in the space one hour, my relative died. The doctor could not note the cause of death. It was autopsy that showed that she had ruptured aneurysm.
“But my friend’s relative who was admitted in critical care unit (CCU) of the hospital, the hospital could not get the diagnosis. But her relatives flew her to South Africa. On getting to South Africa, the computed tomography (CT) scan that did not pick anything in LASUTH showed that the patient had ruptured aneurism. They did a surgery on her, and the surgery was successful. She is still alive today. Our doctors are undertrained; they lack technical know-how and sometimes, they evade work to do private practice. They do not have time for government work at LASUTH. They evade work more when they become consultant. They use their house officers, who are fresh from school without experience, to do majority of the work. That is why we record a lot deaths.”
The Guardian learnt that the breakdown of primary health centres (PHCs) puts a lot of pressure on LASUTH; so much that patients attend the hospital even from Ogun State.
The Guardian was told, “electricity supply is constant.” But the hospital’s public toilet is an eyesore.
The Guardian could not get a reaction from the hospital’s management as some of officials contacted demanded for written note before any member of the hospital’s management team could speak on the matter.