by Seyi Lawal
The case between the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and its doctors seems to be a taking a drastic turn.
Just earlier this week, people were outraged after news circulated that Governor Fashola had flown his father abroad for medical treatment while state employed doctors were out of work and patients left unattended to. Now reports that neglected patients are dying due to lack of medical care are beginning to draw international attention and more people are becoming frustrated with the whole situation pleading with the Lagos State government to act immediately.
The Guardian recently went into Lagos state hospitals conducting a vox pop and revealing very shocking details caused by the strike action and the sack that ensued afterwards.
See excerpts from the interviews here:
Since Friday, when a man came to look after his brother, an acutely ill patient at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), the body he watched them wheel away would be the third to be taken to the mortuary from that ward.
As he looked out of the window, there was nothing like the former bustling LASUTH environment. Only a handful of people were moving about.
The strike has forced Lagosians to take their ailing relatives elsewhere, especially to private hospitals in the metropolis, many of which are packed with patients.
Those who stayed at the government hospitals were paying a huge price because the doctors have stayed away.
“This is again a case of the grass, in this case, we poor Lagosians, suffering, while elephants fight,” the man who spoke under anonymity said.
Also worried that more Lagosians are going to die if the doctors continue to stay away was Mr. J. O. Alawode, whose elder brother is a diabetic.
“I have been here for two weeks looking after my bother, a diabetic patient. I thank God his condition is improving, thanks to the nurses and pharmacists as well as some of the doctors who value human life. I had to leave the other side because of the horrible sight I was exposed to. Everyday you see them wheeling out dead bodies and when I could no longer endure it, I had to relocate to where you found me.”
“While, I strongly believe that the labourer deserves his due, I also believe that the government of Babatunde Fashola in Lagos State has not been wicked to the doctors. Even if there are still areas of dispute, the answer does not lie in embarking on strike as a result of which many Lagosians have died.”
“As you can see, the nurses are stretched but we must thank God that they have been doing their best.”
“I am begging the doctors to return to negotiations with the government. This is not a matter of who backs down first, even though I would ask the doctors to forget their ego or pride for the sake of Lagosians.”
At Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajegunle, Tinu Ogunsola, a relative to one of the in-patients, told The Guardian the strike did not affect her brother much.
“The nurses are taking care of him. But a woman next to us saw hell in the absence of doctors in the hospital. Pregnant women were only attended to by the midwives and very important checks and examinations by expert medical doctors could not take place.”
A patient, Shola Olumi said: “When I first came, the nurses advised me to go to a private hospital. But my case was a minor one and luckily, a kind doctor attended to me.”
At Isolo General Hospital, a few doctors have been attending to patients.
At the emergency ward yesterday, a doctor was around to attend to motorcycle accident victims who were brought in by their relations.
Though the passenger of the motorcycle who was run over by a truck was confirmed dead by the doctor, the rider was admitted.
But at the eye section, patients sat waiting endlessly to see doctors who were nowhere around.
A mother, Titilope Opeoluwa, who brought her little son told The Guardian: “Some sort of fluid comes out of my son’s eye causing him great discomfort. I came here since 8.00a.m. to see a doctor and now, it is getting to 1.00p.m., I have not seen any. The nurses kept telling me that they would come but I am tired of waiting.”
More touching was the case of a man who was attacked by a black snake on Tuesday while taking his bath in their outdoor bathroom.
According to his wife,” my husband came back in the evening and went to take his bath at the bathroom outside. He didn’t know that there was a black snake there which spat into his eyes. We have been waiting for a doctor, but none is around because of the strike. I am praying that they return to work in the interest of people like us who cannot afford to go to private hospitals.”