An 100 level student of Banking and Finance in University of Port Harcourt, Deborah Doofan, has passed away on Monday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Surulere over failure to be admitted into one of the hospital wards for immediate treatment due to Lack of bed space.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Deborah who suffered from hyperthyroidism, a medical condition associated with overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in a rapid heartbeat and an increased rate of metabolism died in front of the emergency ward center.
Her brother, Prince , disclosed that She was studying in school when she suffered a crisis and was immediately rushed to the UNIPORT Teaching Hospital where she was receiving treatment and later diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in January 2022.
According to him, she was to undergo treatment for the condition when she was discovered to swollen heart and thereafter referred to LUTH to see specialists for her condition.
Stressing Further, Prince said she left Port Harcourt and came to Lagos on December 24, 2022 whereas they reached out to LUTH to know if their specialists were on the ground but they were told that the machine that will be used for the hyperthyroidism treatment was not working.
The LUTH however referred her to the University College Hospital, Ibadan in which one of the doctors said she would go through lots of treatments to bring the swollen heart down because her heart was beating very fast.
“She needed to see specialists including an endocrinologist, neurologist, and cardiologist, among others, but the doctor said UCH has the machine for the treatment but the specialists were not on the ground and that she needed to see a cardiologist to certify that her heart was in a good position for them to put her on a machine for the treatment.”
The Benue State indigene said they were advised to see specialists in LUTH and take the results to the UCH for treatment, adding that that was what they were doing all through January till February 2023,when the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new naira design started causing issues in the country.
He added, “To see a specialist was very expensive and because my funds were trapped in banks, it became very difficult for her to continue seeing the specialists and continuing the treatments. So, she was just taking oral drugs but the tablets were not effective, so her condition started getting worse.
Before that, the swollen stomach and legs were going down, and she was getting better. She woke up one day and became restless; we tried to sort out funds to go to the cardiologist in LUTH, but when we got there, we were told to go to the UCH to get her admitted for doctors and specialists to treat her and monitor her condition.”
Prince said Doofan was given an appointment to resume her treatment on Monday (today), adding that she was making plans to resume the treatment when she suffered a crisis and was rushed to the Epe General Hospital from where she was referred to the LUTH.
He continued, “We got to LUTH around 2am, called the emergency number, and the security officials at the Emergency Ward started asking what the emergency was. A doctor later came out and I showed him the referral letter. He brought out his thermometer, checked her pulse and temperature, and returned inside.
“But he said their policy does not allow them to give treatment outside the hospital. I then begged him that he should allow me to take her inside the emergency ward and that I would sit on the floor, and carry her on my lap so he can give her first aid treatment but he still said no. She died at the front of the emergency ward while I was looking for a bench or table to place her on.”
He said the family members had commenced preparations for her sister’s burial at their home town in Benue.
Contacted, the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, LUTH, Prof Wasiu Adeyemo, said he was aware of the situation.
Adeyemo said, “I am aware but I do not have the details yet. When I discovered the story on the internet, I forwarded it to the Head of the Department and I am still waiting for their response.
“When we see a patient like that, what we do is to investigate; patients sometimes come and there are no bed spaces and what we do is to refer them. But for a really serious, critical emergency, we inform them immediately that there is no space and give them options of where to go.”
Adeyemo said with or without money, it was the responsibility of the hospital to treat patients in line with the policy of the Federal Government.
He added. “The population is growing, the government has been responsible, and the government is building a new hospital that will give us more space. The problem is not limited to us.
“We won’t say because it is an emergency, and then chase the people that are there away. As a policy, we have a very effective way of communicating with our patients; it is quite unfortunate that this patient died.
“In a few months, all these will be solved. We have many of our wards under renovation, and there is another building being constructed in the hospital. By the time we are done, we would have more space”.
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