What’s the next step for a hospital, when the twins in a pregnant woman in its facility have been certified dead? This is the question the family of late Josephine Olayemi Odufowora, who was allegedly neglected and left to die by personnel of Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, despite fulfilling all requirements, are asking. Gboyega Alaka reports.
That Josephine Olayemi Odufowora, a pregnant woman, who was brought into the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta on the 13th of June, 2020 died is no news.
That she also lost both her twins in the process of accessing treatment for delivery, which ultimately led to her death, is also no news.
What her family are however not willing to have swept under the carpet is the manner of her death, which they ascribed to negligence on the part of the personnel at the federal facility.
They would have none of the explanations being offered by the hospital’s Medical Director via a press statement signed by its Head, Public Relations & Information, Segun Orisajo, notably, that Josephine “discharged herself from the Centre against medical advice while her treatment was fully on course” and that “she was given the best of medical care and services available at our disposal.”
According to the hospital’s statement, “The above named patient was referred from State Hospital Ota on account of thyroid disease in pregnancy as estimated gestational age of 25 weeks complicated with severe lower abdominal pain.”
It also stated that “the team on call saw her on the 13th of June, 2020 at 10.10pm and that “the diagnosis of Graves’s disease in pregnancy (multiple gestations) was confirmed,” adding that she was resuscitated, while several investigations were requested.
Josephine’s family are however claiming that this is an attempt to cover up their errors, using “distorted facts with colossal and blatant lies,” describing it as “the most wicked statement of this generation.”
The family, through a statement signed by the deceased’s husband, Odufowora David and brother, Olayemi Philip, are claiming that the late Josephine was never attended to for 24 hours, despite the fact that she came into the facility in throes of pain and in dire need of urgent attention.
“She was never attended to for 24-hours! And, as a matter of fact, there was no treatment on course. Our hearts are more pained by this wicked and heartless statement.
Josephine was never given any service talk less of being given the best. She was just carelessly neglected.”
They also debunked the claim that the hospital staff resuscitated Josephine, arguing that she never passed out: “How can you perform a ‘CPR’ on a patient who never passed out? ‘… ‘who walked into your hospital actively with cramps in her lower abdomen?”
They insist that after all prescribed tests were made and given to the nurses on duty on Monday 14 June by 9:00am, not a single attention was paid to her, causing a concerned woman to advise them to take her to nearby Sacred Heart (hospital), Lantoro, if they cared to save her life.
Speaking in a an interview with The Nation, Josephine’s father, Mr Babajide Olayemi said, “We arrived Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta on the Saturday 13th of June, 2020 and she was left unattended to until the morning of Tuesday, June 15.
First, we were left in the car for four whole hours, despite the fact that it was a clear emergency. Even after she was admitted into a ward, she was left on the bed for a whopping 24 hours untouched, despite the fact that we had done all the prescribed tests and bought all the drugs.
I still have all the drugs in my house; they are untouched. We paid for the bed and made all the necessary payments, yet she was neglected.
“Even when the husband, who is a microbiologist, informed us that the scan test showed that the babies were dead, they still paid her no attention.
I don’t understand how you can keep a patient with two dead babies in her womb in your hospital bed for almost 24 hours. Bear it in mind that the tests results were presented to them on the 14th.
A test indicated that babies are dead in a woman’s womb, what next? Is it to place her on a bed or swing into action to take them out?
Honestly, I can’t just get over the fact that the doctors in that hospital killed my daughter,” a visibly distraught Olayemi lamented.
Asked what their excuse was, Olayemi said, “They offered no explanation. But anytime we made attempts to talk to them or call their attention to her condition, they became hostile and behaved as if we were bothering them or trying to teach them their job.
You know how it is with our doctors and nurses in government hospitals. Even the drugs and the tests results were just handed over to a nurse on seat.
It was later that we realised that federal doctors were preparing for a showdown with the federal government that very Monday.”
What Olayemi found most incomprehensible was how health officials who are supposed to be caring and saving lives could look away and literally watch his daughter die, when they could save her.
One pertinent question the family is therefore asking is: How come all the drugs and injections prescribed were never used if indeed “she was given the best of medical care and services available at our disposal,” as they claimed in the hospital’s press statement?
As far as they are concerned, “It is only a mad man that would discharge himself from a hospital where he is being taken care of, especially on ‘such controlled situation’.
The family has also petitioned the Minister of Health via a letter dated 1st July, 2020 and titled: “The Unfortunate and Avoidable Demise of Mrs Josephine Olayemi Odufowora: A Call For Investigation and Reform” through Citizens’ Gavel, a not-for-profit/non-governmental organisation with the aim of increasing the pace of justice delivery by providing legal support for victims of rights abuse.”
They are asking that the minister uses his “offices to investigate into the circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased and ensure all culpable persons are held accountable.”
They also want an investigation into the “dire lack of resources at Federal Medical Centres across the country with a view to upgrading them.
The letter was signed by Oluwafemi Ajibade, Operations Lead-Legal of Citizens’ Gavel and the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, was copied.
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