Ebola: Panic in LUTH as patient dies mysteriously

by Isi Esene

There was panic among patients and medical personnel working at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) as a yet to be identified patient suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus died in the early hours of today.

The patient was brought to the hospital by medical staff working at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) fuelling suspicions that he may have flown in from an Ebola ravaged country.

It is worthy to note that Nigeria’s index case, Patrick Sawyer flew into Nigeria from the West African country of Liberia resulting in the infection of several people who had direct contact with him before his death.

According to the doctor who was on duty when the patient was admitted into the LUTH Accident and Emergency Unit, the patient was vomiting blood and stooling, symptoms which are similar to that of an  Ebola patient, before he died in the early hours of Tuesday at the Spill-Over ward of the hospital.

He said, “They rushed him to the Accident and Emergency Unit, and since he was vomiting and purging and he also had high fever, we quickly took his temperature, it was very high. We were all scared to take his blood samples because we were not wearing any Protective Protective Equipment.

“We had to take him out of the emergency ward to the other spill-over ward to avoid any form of contamination. We also reported to the Lagos State Government so that they can take him to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba for proper treatment. But he had started vomiting blood by this morning , and few hours after he died.”

The doctor said that the body has being transferred to the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, for testing and confirmation of the cause of death.

Meanwhile, Prof. Akin Oshibogun, the LUTH Chief Medical Director says the case is still being investigated.

He said the Nigerian authorities have been able to confirm that the patient had made no contact with anyone infected with the disease neither does the patient have a history of the dreaded disease.

Oshibogun said: “We have been able to establish that this patient has no history of Ebola or any contact with a person that had Ebola. We are only trying to investigate the patient. If there is any new thing, we will let you know. As long as we are in the hospital, from time to time, we will always have high index suspicion and most times these patients turn out to be negative.

“There is a difference between suspected or confirmed cases . We are only investigating the case to protect our people. We have had that situation two times in the hospital now. If we have a case we will announce it. In the case of this patient, for the fact that a patient has high index suspicion does not make the patient an Ebola patient. When you create panic many nurses may decide to abandon the patients.”

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