When John Jibrin drove his mother to Maitama District Hospital, Abuja, on January 7, it was with the hope of taking her back home the same day or after a few days.
He never knew that would be her last day on earth.
Mr Jibrin is the last child of Georgina Jibrin, a 69-year-old woman who allegedly died due to the negligence of the hospital.
Mrs Jibrin died at the emergency ward of the hospital, following an earlier complaint of head pain.
The upset son of the deceased said his mother would not have died if the doctors had handled her treatment professionally.
He told PREMIUM TIMES how the doctors on duty left his mother unattended to for several hours until she suffered a partial stroke which eventually led to her death.
He also alleged that a doctor, identified as Betty Ani, denied his mother blood transfusion despite recommendations from other doctors.
How it all started
Late Mrs Jibrin reportedly visited the Maitama District Hospital on Friday, January 3, having complained of malaria.
The doctor on call had told her to run some tests and scan which was done in a private laboratory and the result was presented to the hospital on Monday, January 6.
On this day, she met a different doctor who prescribed some drugs for her and told her to go home.
However, she was back to the hospital the next day having complained of head pain with a severe cold all through the night.
“On Tuesday, 7th January, my mother was brought back to the hospital because she had complained of head pain with a severe cold all through the night.
“She was admitted at the emergency ward and one Dr Mustapha was assigned to carry out preliminary investigations on her health condition.
“As at 10.30 a.m., my mother was still conscious and could answer questions from the doctor,” Mr Jibrin said.
There was, however, a turn of events, when the female doctor on duty complained bitterly about some of the drugs previously prescribed for his mother.
“She immediately instructed that my mother be placed on a drip. The drip was, however, disconnected when the specialist noticed my mother had developed excess fluid in her legs.
“After this, no further treatment was done and there was no communication from the doctor. At 2pm, we saw the doctor leaving the hospital without giving any update on my late mother’s health,” he said.
Refusal to transfuse blood
Mr Jibrin alleged that Ms Ani, the doctor who took over from the previous one, declined all pleas to give his mother blood, to ensure stability.
“At about 3 p.m., Dr Chaha observed that my mother was looking pale. She called for the result of the PCV test which shows 34 per cent blood level but she wasn’t convinced.
“She suggested that a blood transfusion is needed, this was affirmed by Dr Mustapha who was present alongside Dr Ani.
“But, Dr Ani, who was the doctor on duty did not consider the blood transfusion neither did she provide an alternative,” he said.
He explained that his late mother was left with no further treatment until she suffered a partial stroke.
He said Ms Ani was still not proactive, despite the development.
“From the time Dr Chaha left the emergency ward, no treatment was carried out except for an injection to stop her from vomiting.
“At 6.30 p.m., my mother began to vomit and also suffered a partial stroke attack. We called for help but Ani didn’t come until 7 pm with one Dr Garba,” he said.
Lack of consumables, adequate equipment
Mr Jibrin told PREMIUM TIMES that scans and tests requested were done in a private laboratory due to the lack of some equipment in the hospital.
“Dr Garba asked us if we can afford a brain scan for my mother and we said yes. Then we asked him if it can be done within the hospital, he said no.
“He suggested we use an independent laboratory in the morning. At this point, we were really disturbed because the night was long and no alternative was being suggested,” he said.
He also said the hospital had no syringe or gloves at this time.
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“When they were taking blood, they were no blood tubes in the hospital. The blood was taken in an ordinary syringe that we bought. We also bought a packet of glove because they were no gloves in a government-funded hospital,” he said.
He also alleged that the electronic bed provided by the hospital was not functioning.
“You can imagine having a bed in the emergency ward that cannot be adjusted. It is called an electronic bed but it’s in a form of V shape.
“My mum wasn’t comfortable on the bed. Nobody in the hospital could adjust the bed.
“I drove to my office to get a fuse so they can connect it electronically and adjust it, only to realise all the switch in that department were not functional,” he said.
Mr Jibrin explained that the doctors left his mother without giving them any update on her health status.
“Dr Garba and Dr Ani told us to step out so they can decide on what to do as a team.
“We stepped outside and was waiting for them but no one surfaced. All of a sudden, my mum had the second stroke attack and it was when we started shouting for help we realised Betty and Garba were no longer in the hospital.
“Garba had closed for the night, we don’t know where Betty went to,” he said.
He said it was at this point Dr Dan, another doctor, came to their rescue and ordered for a blood transfusion immediately.
“This woman doesn’t have blood, that is why her body has been cold all day,” he said.
According to Mr Jibrin, the doctor immediately asked for his mother to be placed on oxygen and begin the process of blood transfusion.
The process, however, suffered another setback when they met Ms Ani who insisted there will be no blood transfusion.
“At this time, we pleaded to be given an undertaken indicating that we approved blood transfusion for my mother but if they fail to do, we will hold them responsible if anything happens.
“But nobody did anything about it. My wife was the first to notice my mum’s pulse has stopped.
“I placed my head on her chest, her heart wasn’t beating. We were screaming doctor, no doctor came. My mother was gone.
“Till today, no doctor came to examine my mother and ascertain that this woman is dead,” he said.
In the eye of a witness
A witness, David Ahamf, told PREMIUM TIMES how doctors in the hospital were reluctant in performing their professional duties.
“I understand that a doctor that has been managing the woman for like a year advised the female doctor on call to give blood but she refused.
“She left the patient without a word and the family of the late woman was looking for her. The family kept calling different doctors and they kept saying we are coming, we are coming.
“The painful part is, this is an emergency ward. It’s called an emergency ward where everybody should be on their toes. The doctors were just very reluctant in carrying out their professional duties,” he said.
Esther Umoru, who lost her mother some minutes before Mrs Jibrin gave up, said the tragedy would have been averted if only the doctor gave her blood.
“My mother had just died in the same emergency ward, so I was mourning. But, I overheard them saying if you don’t give her the blood and she dies, we will hold you responsible.
“About 30 minutes later, the woman died and the family was devastated. If only she gave her the blood, maybe she will be alive today,” she said.
Goodluck Ommah said the doctors in the hospital are unprofessional and rude.
“The young man and his family were pleading with the doctor to give their mother blood.
“The female doctor behaved really bad to the family. She was shouting at them to get out, despite the reality that their mother was really sick.
“It wasn’t long after all of this (that) the woman died. The hospital is not organised at all. It seems they are just waiting for people to die, they are not trying to save lives,” he said.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Sule Ahmed, said he will not be reacting to the situation.
“The case is in court so I cannot say anything for now,” he said.