How doctors’ negligence caused death of 4 babies in Delta hospital

By Gabriel Elozino, Asaba

  • as families petition Medical Councils, seeks justice
The Delta state government has admitted that the death of four newborn babies at the Sapele Central Hospital in the state between 1st and 2nd of September 2022 was due to negligence of the doctor(s) and personnel on duty.

This is as one of the affected families, Mr and Mrs Elijah has petitioned the Medical and Delta Council of Nigeria over the alleged medical negligence that led to the neonatal death of four newborn babies including their child.

In their petition letter through V.N. Eluma & Co Barristers, Solicitors & Advocates (Legal Practitioners & Property Consultants), Benin City, Edo state, the law firm after narrating what transpired that night alleged that from 2:00 pm on the 1st of September to 8:00 am on the 2nd of September there was no doctor to attend to Elijah’s wife.

The petition, which was also copied by the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the Delta State Hospital Management Board, Asaba, reads in part, “Currently traumatized by the death of their baby have commissioned our law firm to bring to you their complaints in order to bring the management of Central Hospital, Sapele and the doctor on call from the 1st September to 2nd September 2022 to book to answer to their and/or his medical negligence/utter recklessness and abandonment of their duty that led to the death of our client’s baby and the trauma suffered by our client and his wife.

“We therefore on behalf of our client call upon you sir to bring the management of Central Hospital Sapele and the doctor on call from the 1st of September to 2nd September 2022, to book to answer to their and/or his medical negligence/utter recklessness and abandonment of their duty that led to the death of our client’s baby and the trauma suffered by our client and his wife. Please accept the assurances of our very high regards whilst thanking you for your prompt action and approval thereafter.”

Reacting on behalf of the state government, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye denied that there was no doctor on duty during the period the incident happened.

He said it had through investigations been able to establish that the doctor on duty the night of the incident was in the call room and several calls were made to him, adding that it was yet to establish why he failed to pick up the calls or woke up the very night.

According to Ononye, “Part of what I read was that the doctor on duty was drunk, and I was able to establish that the doctor on duty that night was actually in the call room, and they put across calls and why he didn’t wake I did not know.

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“Everybody’s role is being examined from the cleaners, the nurse, and the doctors on duty and if found guilty, the officer involved will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

Narrating her ordeal, one of the women who lost their newborn babies on that night, Mrs Chisom Ndubueze disclosed how she was not attended to for several hours, leading to her baby being stalled in her birth canal for four hours in the hospital.

The 28 years old lady insisted that her baby would still be alive and kicking if not for the hospital’s nonchalant attitude.

She said she went to the hospital at past 12 in the afternoon of 1st September and was admitted. However, the nurses on duty told her they would not attend to her till 11:00 pm.

“When the doctor came in around 11:00 pm, he asked me to buy some things, which I did, and they took me from the maternity ward to the labour ward and he (the doctor) inserted something inside me and left. The nurses brought a drip and fixed it on me. I was restless because I was going through pain then,” she narrated.

Mrs Ndubueze said the nurses left her and after that time, she said she could feel the baby coming out.

“But it was stalled in the birth canal, for four hours I battled with it, it was around 4:00 am that I now beckon on the nurses to check me again, when the nurses came, they told me the baby was progressing, I had to beg them around 5:00 am again, before they came, and took me to the last labour room.

“The baby’s head was now out but it was still stalled, I was now begging them to help me bring out the baby, I could touch the baby’s head, but the nurses were still telling me that it was not yet time for the baby to come out that I should still push, I now start to push, when I could no longer push, I started begging them to help me bring out the baby.

“I was still struggling with the baby stalled in my birth canal when one of the nurses said her time was up. I was begging her not to leave and that she should help me find the doctor, that was when they started looking for doctors, but he was nowhere,” she lamented.

She said when the doctor came in around 7:00 am to check on her, the baby was still alive then and he left her again. She said she was in tears and even pleaded with the doctor that came that morning not to leave her like that, but they still insisted there was no light to use to help her in delivering the baby.

“It was later that one of the doctors came and was now trying to help me. He was trying to see if he could put on the light and when the light came on, the said vacuum extraction, they were trying to use was not even working, they now left the machine and started making efforts before then I realized the baby was no more moving and the baby was dead,” she said breaking into tears again.

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