The management of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin, Kwara State has seized the corpse of a patient and arrested one of the relatives of the deceased for physically assaulting a medical doctor.
It was gathered that three family members of the deceased, one Alhaji Saliu, on Tuesday, December 27, reportedly beat up a medical doctor in the Accident and Emergency Wing of the UITH following what they described as nonchalant attitude of medical staff.
Trouble started shortly after the news of the death of their relative who was suffering from blood cancer, was announced at the hospital.
The deceased was rushed to the facility on Tuesday after he suffered complications when he reportedly returned from a business trip. When relatives got the news that he had died, they pounced one of the doctors on duty, while accusing him of negligence.
A relative of the deceased simply identified as Abdul said the hospital had held on to the corpse because of the incident.
“We rushed Alhaji Saliu to the emergency ward of UITH around some minutes after 5:00am on Tuesday and despite all our pleading for a doctor to attend to him, nobody obliged us,” he narrated.
“We were surprised to see doctors coming to attend to us several hours later after a medical personnel, who saw our plight confirmed he was dead. That infuriated the relatives and they reacted by descending on one of the doctors that came. Since then, they have vowed not to release the corpse unless we produce some other people that beat the doctor,” he said.
The Head, Corporate Affairs Unit of the UITH, Mrs. Elizabeth Ajiboye, who confirmed the development on Wednesday, said that doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria in the hospital were protesting the assault, “urging the management of the hospital against the release of the corpse without arresting and prosecuting the culprits.”
Ajiboye, who urged members of the public to stop attacks on health workers said that the patient’s case was presented late with severe complications.
“The patient in question was one of such cases presented to the hospital late and with severe complications. Nevertheless, the health workers on duty, especially doctors swung into action but while battling with his life, he convulsed. He was stabilised from that stage, prompting the doctors to take over another case requiring an emergency attention,” Ajiboye explained.
“Three of the patient’s relations pounced on one of the doctors on duty, pinned him to the wall, and punched him severally but he managed to escape from them.
“This led to the arrest of one of patient’s relatives by the security operatives attached to the hospital. As at the time of this report, this person is still under the watch of the security personnel while the other two are being searched for.
“Meanwhile, the doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria are protesting the assault, urging the management of the hospital against the release of the corpse without arresting and prosecuting the culprits.
“It has now become imperative for the hospital to caution patients and their relations against any form of attack on its health care providers.
“We wish to remind members of the public on the roles of health workers in health management system and the limitations of these health care providers in saving lives especially when the cases before them are presented late.
“Just as these workers had sworn to protect the lives of their patients, their own lives should not be endangered.
“Therefore, the management through the law enforcement agents has resolved to henceforth commence the arrest and prosecution of anyone irrespective of their status, threatening the lives of any of the workers of UITH in the course of their duties. Legal action will also henceforth be taken against such unruly relatives of our patients.
“We are at the same time, pledging our unalloyed commitment to continually save lives and make health care accessible to our law abiding clients,” Ajiboye added.