Grace Anya, only child of late Mr Obiefula Anya, narrates how her electrical engineer father died of pneumonia after he was rejected by eight Lagos hospitals for fear he might have contracted COVID-19. ANGELA ONWUZOO reports
A 61-year-old Lagos resident, Mr. Obiefula Anya, died of pneumonia after he was allegedly refused treatment by some hospitals in the state, including the duo of Federal Government-owned Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba; and the Federal Medical Centre Ebute-Metta.
The two hospitals allegedly cited lack of bed space and also demanded COVID-19 test result before treatment, PUNCH HealthWise can report.
Narrating the incident to our Correspondent, the only child of the Abia State indigene, Miss Grace Anya, said her late father was also rejected by some private hospitals in the state, including Ladi-Lak Medical Centre, Bariga; and R-Jolad Hospital, Gbagada.
While the two privately-owned hospitals cited lack of bed space, Grace believes it was because they thought her dad probably had COVID-19.
She alleged that Ladi-Lak Medical Centre said it stopped accepting patients above the age of 50 since the COVID-19 outbreak.
She said the situation was not different at government-owned hospitals, blaming LUTH, FMC Ebute-Metta and Lagos State-government-owned Gbagada General Hospital for her father’s death.
Grace, a 300-level Inter-Science Biology student at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, said doctors at Gbagada General Hospital where her late father commenced treatment, failed to admit him when his condition became critical and required oxygen.
The 25-year-old undergraduate told PUNCH HeathWise that her late father was later taken to LUTH for oxygen, but the tertiary hospital insisted that a COVID-19 test be done and result provided before he could be attended to. They subsequently left LUTH for FMC Ebute-Metta.
Chronicling her family’s harrowing experience with the Nigerian healthcare system, Grace said at some point, her dad was vomiting and excreting blood.
“On May 6, I noticed he was not feeling fine. So, he was treated for malaria.
“But by Monday, May 11, his condition had degenerated. He started vomiting clotted blood.
“Being the only child, I called my uncle to assist in taking him to the hospital. So, we took him to Gbagada General Hospital for proper medication.
“We got there around 10 am but they were not attending to anybody. We waited until 2 pm before they finally attended to us.
“A female doctor at the hospital attended to us. She asked me what was wrong with him and requested that an X-Ray, sugar and blood tests be carried out on him, after which, she prescribed some drugs for him.
“We got the drugs at a pharmacy because the hospital’s pharmacy didn’t have them.
“I thought the doctor would have admitted him because he was weak owing to the blood loss, but she didn’t.
“Later that day at home, he still vomited blood — more than he had vomited before the hospital visit,” the distraught lady narrated.
Continuing, she said, “On Tuesday May 12, around 2 am, he woke my mother and I up and said he wanted to use the toilet. Getting there, he started excreting blood. By 5 am, he excreted more blood, though the vomiting of blood had stopped.
“We took him back to Gbagada General Hospital that morning. Yet, it was still around 2 pm that they attended to him.
“The doctor asked for the test result that was done the previous day, and we produced it.
“When the doctor went through the X-Ray result, he said, ‘This is a typical case of pneumonia.’
“He asked if he was coughing and I said yes. He said his infection was serious, and directed one of the doctors to take my dad for a COVID-19 test, where his sample was collected for testing.
“They said the result would be out in the next 48 hours, but Gbagada General Hospital refused to admit him, even when his condition had worsened
“My dad’s best friend pleaded with the doctor to admit him, but he refused to. Instead, he prescribed another drug for him, saying he must take it every six hours.
“We brought him home that Tuesday, even though he was weak and had lost much blood.
“We gave him the drug by 5 pm as prescribed by the doctor and he slept for a long time. But when he woke up, he was still very weak to the point that he could not speak.”
“So, on Wednesday, May 13, we decided to take him to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, since Gbagada General Hospital refused to admit him and his condition was not improving.”
She alleged that the family’s experience at LUTH was “the most pitiable and regrettable.”