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Nigerians Angry Over Failing Health Care System

Nigerians on Sunday took to microblogging and social networking service, Twitter to berate the nation’s failing health care system.

Their provocations were triggered by the untimely death of two different young women who died due to the negligence of medical personnel who attended to them in various private hospitals.

With the hashtags ‘#JusticeForPeju‘ and ‘#JusticeForOmolara’ Nigerians are calling for a reform of the nation’s health care system.

One of the deceased is a Lagos based Pastry Chef- Peju Ugboma of ILuv Desserts Ltd who had walked into the Hospital by herself for an elective surgery for a fibroid issue. She was said to have concluded all the necessary tests required before the surgery, including ECG, PCV, and COVID -19 tests and was operated on Friday 23rd April 2021.

Peju reportedly bled internally from Friday to Sunday when she died despite advise from her family friend who is a UK-based consultant gynecologist. The consultant had told the doctors that she should be moved back to the operating theatre for the bleeding to be arrested immediately after being informed by the deceased’s husband about her severe abdominal pain and discomfort and how pale she looked after several blood transfusions. She was survived by her husband, two little girls and aged mother.

Similarly, Omolara Omoyajuwolo, a call agent at Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), suffered from Ulcer according to her close friend, Charah who narrated how she died on Twitter.

Charah said Omolara had gone to the hospital for treatment and was tested, injected and treated for malaria .after she complained of peptic ulcer pain.

Nigerians Angry Over Failing Health Care System
Late Peju Ugboma and Omolara Omoyajuwolo

Omolara, who was said to be an orphan, was rushed back to the hospital after her health deteriorated and placed on oxygen after she was struggling to breath. she later died before she could reach the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where she was referred to.

See full posts below and various reactions;

An independent autopsy carried out by pathologists at LASUTH with credible observers and Premier hospital in attendance revealed that Peju suffered internal bleeding. It was discovered that she had about 2 Litres of blood in her abdomen and pelvic area.

The family revealed that Peju was admitted into Premier Specialist Hospital on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021, as directed by the Hospital, to carry out an elective surgery for a fibroid issue.

She walked into the Hospital by herself unaided as it was by no means an emergency surgical procedure. She had concluded all the necessary tests required before the surgery, including ECG, PCV, and Covid -19 tests. Her vitals were okay and she had no preexisting conditions prior to surgery.

All payments were made for the preliminary tests. The hospital demanded their account be funded to the tune of N1.5 million and the family deposited N1 million immediately.

The surgery was carried out on the morning of Friday 23rd April 2021, by Drs. Akinsiku, Iwuh, Asemota, Renner, and some other medical personnel in Premier Specialist Hospital, Victoria Island.

Peju’s husband saw her after the surgery on Friday, and she complained about severe abdominal pain and discomfort, which he felt was not unusual for someone who had just come out of surgery. However, her blood pressure had dropped to as low as the range of 50/30. The doctors then gave her blood transfusion because she had lost a lot of blood during the surgery.

Early on Saturday morning, she told her husband that the veins on her hands had collapsed and the Hospital wanted to give her fluids on a vein close to her neck and collarbone. She also mentioned that the doctors said her kidneys were not functioning optimally, and a Consultant Nephrologist had been called in to come in that Saturday morning. This was a shock to them both as all tests prior to surgery were fine. The Consultant eventually came in as scheduled but dismissed both their concerns.

By Saturday evening, she had been given 3 pints of blood. The family allege that none of the gynecologists who performed the surgery attended to her throughout that Saturday despite all her pain and concerns expressed by her husband.

That same Saturday evening, her blood pressure dipped further. The family allege that Dr. Renner told her husband that they would need to move her to the ICU. He was asked to pay an additional N1.5 million before she could be moved to the ICU and he paid the money without delay. Peju was admitted into the ICU immediately after payment.

The family allege that Dr. Renner then told her husband that he needed an additional 3 pints of freshly donated B+ blood, as Premier Specialist hospital did not have any in the Hospital’s blood banks. This left him with no choice but to go on a blood donation drive from friends and family. Several donors were screened and they donated a total of 9 pints of blood that night.

As this was going on, Peju kept complaining of severe pains, and her eyes had turned yellowish. At about midnight that Saturday, she was sedated intravenously.

By 6.30 am on Sunday, her husband was surprised to find out that his wife had been placed on a respirator. The husband said Dr Renner told him that her condition had deteriorated through the night. Her husband saw that she looked pale, and her eyes had been taped as if to keep them closed, but she was still breathing and the monitors were still reading.

Peju’s husband had been in touch with a family friend who is a UK-based consultant gynecologist. The consultant raised alarm and insisted on speaking with the doctors at Premier hospital. He spoke with Drs. Asemota, Iwuh and the medical director Dr Oshinowo. He stated expressly that he was of the opinion that she had severe internal bleeding and needed to be moved back to the operating theatre for the bleeding to be arrested immediately. Premier team however ignored his advice, according to the family.

Premier decided to move Peju to a hospital where she could have a CT Scan and possible dialysis. By 10 am on Sunday, her husband was informed that his wife would be moved to Evercare Hospital, Lekki Phase 1. However, it took 3 hours before she was moved to Evercare.

Immediately she arrived there she was met by their medical team and taken to the ICU. Her husband was asked to pay another N1 million at Evercare, and he made the payment immediately.

The family said the head of the ICU detected that Peju did not have a pulse and emergency CPR commenced immediately. This failed and she was pronounced dead by 2.20pm on Sunday.

Premier Specialist Hospital offered to do an autopsy, however, the family insisted on an independent autopsy. The independent pathologist requested Peju’s full medical report prior to the autopsy as is normal practice but the family allege that Premier Specialist Hospital management were playing games to stall releasing it.

It took a visit by family of the deceased to Premier Hospital who engaged the doctors and management in a shouting match and nearly resulted in a physical confrontation before the medical reports were released.

The deceased’s family allege that the medical reports sent to the independent pathologist may have been tampered with or altered.

The family alleges that Peju bled internally from Friday after the surgery till Sunday when she died, and it is shocking to note that Premier hospital was allegedly negligent enough not to pick this up and save her life.

Peju’s tragic and unfortunate death has left behind two heartbroken little girls, a grieving husband and an aged mother and loved ones.

While Omolara’s friend tweeted;

My friend Lara feeling some type of way (ulcer attack as she claimed in her status) she went to the hospital,tested + also to malaria (according to her) & was given some injections… and then she went back home.

I got to Lara’s place at past 10. She had tried to eat and vomited, she was sweating profusely. I started to clean, she vomited again. I went to her neighbor so we could go back to the hospital since she wasn’t getting better, she was breathing hard too.

We got to Beachland Hosp. AREPO and she saw the same doctor that attended to her initially, I excused them but I heard him say “I’ll have to admit you” I dashed back to her to pick stuff that she’d be needing. Before I got back she had been taken to the wards.

I met a nurse there giving her some injections through her hands (the way they give drips) Lara was so uncomfortable, she kept on insisting that she couldn’t lie down cos she’s not breathing well. “How am I supposed to sleep when I’m not breathing well?”

After a while they left, they put a device on her thumb and asked me to be monitoring it and call for attention once it reads 90. She wasn’t getting any better rather she was getting worse, I went to complain, a nurse came again n gave her another injection.

I was told she’d sleep off and I should keep checking the device on her thumb.

The device later stopped working, I detected the battery was low, I didn’t meet any nurse on her wards floor, I went to the floor before hers and complained,I started to look for the doctor. when I got back to the ward Lara had already sat where I was, she couldn’t really talk.

Somehow, Lara lost consciousness, another doctor came in and said she (the new doctor) didn’t know it was this kind of case (meaning it’s critical) and then asked that she’s placed on oxygen, there was reluctance to get that oxygen.

I made efforts myself at some point I went to the emergency room to get the oxygen myself, I almost lifted it alone before one of the nurses came to give me aid and eventually another collected it from me, she was placed on oxygen.

They asked me questions about her health history. How would you admit a patient without asking her those things initially? She has a card that shows she has been using that hospital since 2019…I called her siblings (they both don’t live in Lagos/Ogun). Lara was an orphan.

Lara doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t have Asthma, she only had episodes of chest pain alongside her back (that aggravates from the ulcer attack) the only thing I know is her chest pain from aggravated ulcer after her back) fast forward to almost 1am, they said they need to refer her.

They said I need to get someone to come n pick us up, as their ambulance is not available till later that morning. I said I’ll wait coz of it was already midnight. They said the oxygen they have can’t last up to 3 hours(they started touching the cylinder to demonstrate emptiness).

They declared her bp low and hurried me again, I immediately started to call for help, I made a tweet to call for help (that I later deleted after I found someone)phone calls and all. took her phone and took numbers from it. It’s already around 2:30am.

Mind you, I tried to reach out to people at her workplace (Lara worked at LASEMA as a call center representative, yes! 112 emergency. She picked calls and recorded cases) they were scared that the ambulance wouldn’t be able to come over, since it’s not on their call record.

I approached the first doctor that attended to her as he was writing the referral letter and tried to ask somethings he didn’t respond n he said I should allow him focus on the referral note (he wrote it more than once,he was being careful I guess).

I thought they would let us go with the oxygen, a nurse only brought it to the car door and put it in her nostrils for a while, I even thought she was gonna go with us. They left us and told Lara’s neighbor to move with the “highest speed”

They placed her head on my laps and asked me to raise my laps, the windows were wind down as they advised, When we got to LASUTH, the doctors at the medical emergency announced Lara dead and they filled a form ‘BID’ (Brought in dead) Lara died! She died on my laps and in my arms.

Lara’s health was obviously mismanaged. Lara doesn’t joke with her health, she went to the hospital herself, It’s a pity it had to be Lara my friend, Lara could be me tomorrow, Lara could be you.

The health system needs a reform. Health mismanagement and negligence of the health workers in beachland specialist hospital Arepo killed my friend Omolara Omoyajuwolo. There was no ambulance, there was no supporting oxygen, there was no nurse. #JusticeForOmolara.

See reactions below;

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