Mr. Ausbet Udebu and his family joined the Good Friday procession which took off from St Paul's Catholic Church, Oyingbo, Ebute Metta, Lagos to end at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos (where the Udebus worship). Thereafter, they proceeded to join in the celebration of Good Friday.
Afterwards, the family (Mrs. Ngozi Udebu and her four daughters) left the church for home, but without Mr. Udebu, who works voluntarily as a traffic marshal at their parish.Christabelle, the first child, called him on the phone saying that her mum was complaining of terrible abdominal pain. She was observing her monthly cycle which is usually managed with medications to reduce the pain. Mr. Udebu rushed back home and noticed that the pain was beyond the regular menstrual pain. He quickly rushed her to a private hospital where the doctor on duty examined her and referred them to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for further diagnosis and treatment.
The Udebus got to LUTH at about 9pm with Mrs. Udebu writhing in pain which was apparently a case of a medical emergency. He was asked if he was registered with the hospital, he answered in the affirmative but could not remember his family's registration number. He was told he had to get a new one. While this extremely slow procedure was being executed, his wife was left unattended to in her excruciatingly painful condition.
Mrs. Udebu underwent some tests/scan and the results were ready before 7am the next morning. Mr. Udebu took the results to the pool of doctors, but he was asked to wait until the doctors are ready for the ward rounds. After about 90 minutes, a doctor finally turned up, checked her and confirmed she was stable except that the scan revealed some trace of ulcer. The doctor prescribed Gascol and an injection which were not readily available at LUTH!!! Mr. Udebu quickly rushed to buy the prescription outside the hospital premises which he luckily got. This took about an hour.
After administering the drug and injection, Mrs. Udebu had no visible relief. The doctor then prescribed another brand of injection called IV NEXIUM. Again, Mr. Udebu quickly rushed out to buy the injection. TALK OF A GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL WHERE THE PATIENTS ARE MADE TO PURCHASE EVERYTHING WHILE PRECIOUS TIME THAT WOULD HAVE SAVED THE PATIENT'S LIFE IS BEING WASTED!!!
The emergency unit where Mrs. Udebu was kept had NO LIGHT, NO FAN, POOR VENTILATION. Mr. Udebu had to use the flashlight of his phone to assist the doctor in finding the wife’s vein. He was physically fanning his wife because she was sweating profusely and having difficulty breathing due to the stuffy condition, coupled with a malfunctioning window directly opposite her bed which could not be opened.
By Sunday, 27th March, Mrs. Udebu (a patient who had now developed breathing problems after spending 48hrs in a very hot emergency unit with little ventilation) was moved out of the emergency unit to the female ward because according to the doctor, they move patients out of the emergency ward after 24hrs and she had spent 48hrs.
Since the beginning of this travail, Mr. Udebu never left his wife's side due to the fact that he perceived a certain lack of professionalism and necessary care on the part of the staff of LUTH. When it was night, he was told that no patient’s relation would be allowed to stay in the ward. Mrs. Udebu's younger sister even volunteered to stay and help her out in the case of any need. The nurses bluntly refused, saying it was against hospital policy.
Meanwhile, this was a person who suddenly developed severe breathing difficulties from her stay in the emergency unit. She definitely would have fared better with someone by her side to help out just in case something went wrong. They just refused, sticking to their ‘almighty’ policy.
During this time, Mrs. Udebu's condition consistently deteriorated and she needed oxygen to stay alive. LUTH SAID THEY HAD NO OXYGEN MASK!!! Mr. Udebu did not have much choice but to rush out, yet again, to get one. What a country where the life of an individual is not valued. NIGERIA’S PRIME TEACHING HOSPITAL! NO OXYGEN MASK?!!
Mr. Udebu then purchased an oxygen mask and his wife was placed on oxygen. Her breathing became slightly improved.Mrs. Udebu, in her weak state, pleaded with the nurses to permit her husband or her younger sister to be with her through the night, but her plea was equally turned down. "Daddy, don’t go" was Mrs. Udebu’s mournful cry asking her husband to stay back. Mr. Udebu was asked to leave and almost forced out of the ward. Dejected as he was, he reluctantly left with his sister in-law at about 11pm.
At about 6am the next morning, Mr. Udebu was back in the ward, in the company of his eldest daughter Christabelle, to offer her the attention she needed but to their deepest shock, the curtain over her bed was already drawn. Mr. Udebu immediately suspected something eerie.He instantly knew, but did not want to believe that his wife of fifteen years and mother to his four children was no more. Mrs. Ngozi Udebu died in the early hours of the morning. To make the pain more telling, nobody contacted the family when she passed on. The husband was rudely hit by the reality of his beloved wife’s death on arrival at the ward!
EVERYTHING ABOUT LUTH IS WRONG!!!
• A ward with more than 35 patients with only two nurses available to attend to them
• A patient gasping for breath and cannot be moved to intensive care unit
• Another patient who earlier registered in any of the doctors’ private clinics will have an army of doctors attending to him/her because he/she has paid in the doctor's private clinic.
• Lack of BASIC drugs and most painful of all, OXYGEN MASK!!! IN A GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL? THIS IS UNIMAGINABLE
• Inaccessibility to doctor when a patient’s case gets critical. Throughout the three days in which Mrs. Udebu was at LUTH, she could not empty her bowel. The doctors were informed but they did nothing about it. It was her husband who tried to induce it but did not succeed. Are there no procedures and medications the doctors could haveadministered to help her?
• Lack of (simple) fan, cooling system or even common ventilation in the emergency ward (this must have complicated Mrs. Udebu’s breathing difficulty)
• The toilet area was completely submerged.The pool of water was more than 4inches high from the entrance to two toilets; no patient could use it for those two days.Mr. Udebu used putty as urine receptacle for his wife.It was a horrible sight to behold.
• Gross negligence, neglect and nonchalance by members of staff of LUTH
The doctors concluded that her death was caused by ULCER even before an autopsy was carried out.The result of the autopsy came out, to the surprise of everybody, it stated that she died of ASPHYXIA. Asphyxia is the loss of consciousness due to the body's inability to deliver oxygen to its tissues. What is the relationship between Asphyxia and Ulcer which was the doctor's ‘diagnosis’?
This is shameful, sad, disheartening, disappointing and above all disgraceful for Nigeria’s prime health institution. The nurse on duty when confronted that they may not have known when she passed on said that she passed on at 3am. She claimed that they battled to save her life. In order to buttress her claim, she showed an oxygen gauge which they changed when they realized that it wasn’t working well. Well, who knows if Mrs. Udebu was still alive when they realized that the oxygen gauge was malfunctioning? NEGLIGENCE OF STAFF!! A PATIENT LIKE MRS. UDEBU WHO WAS PLACED ON OXYGEN AND COULDN’T BREATHE? WASN’T THERE SUPPOSED TO BE SOMEONE ON GROUND MONITORING A PATIENT IN SUCH CRITICAL CONDITION WHEN HER PEOPLE WERE DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAY OVER WITH HER??? HOW CAN LUTH BE USING ANTIQUATED OXYGEN EQUIPMENT IN THIS TIME AND AGE OF ELECTRONICS?
I understand that God permitted it because if He wanted her to live,no LUTH lazy bone would have touched this charming, vibrant woman who was so full of life. An epitome of humility, happiness, peace and grace was the perfect description for Mrs. Ngozi Udebu. A God-fearing mother of four amazing daughters, a wife to Mr. Austin Udebu, a well-respected Teacher at St. Finbarr's College, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos and an amazing friend to many. Certain mistakes could have been avoided but for the legendary negligent tradition of LUTH. Out of the many people who have heard this story, not one person has had anything good to say about LUTH because they have had personal experiences with them as well. The recurring verdict is that LUTH does not value any human life at all.
Life is short, Life is cruel, and Life can be Just. You can call this piece a complaint or an open letter to whoever cares to listen. It certainly wouldn't bring Mrs. Ngozi Udebu back, but it will go a long way to open the eyes of the people to see the rot in LUTH, a Federal Government flagship health institution, thereby putting a stop to another life being cut short like that of Mrs. Ngozi Udebu. Things must change. Ngozi Udebu’s spirit will start that movement.
Join the movement #JusticeForNgoziUdebu so we can put a stop to this banality.