How citizen Emma was “wasted” at Abuja University Teaching Hospital
He took the fatherly advice of his boss to further his education. He bagged his Higher National Diploma (HND) and proceeded to cap it all with his national service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
But today, in a painful twist of fate, the remains of Emmanuel Israel Atsar is billed to be committed to mother earth, because of what has been described as the alleged complacency and negligence of medical personnel at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada. Some even alleged professional misconduct and inappropriate medical procedure.
Spokesman of the hospital, Mr. Frank Omagbon, told The Guardian on phone Thursday that the records showed that Atsar was brought in on Tuesday to the Casualty Ward, from where he was adequately catered for until he passed on Saturday, 27th August, 2016.
“We have been able to get the folder of the man, Emmanuel Atsar, he was admitted on August 23. He was seen by our team of neuro-surgeons and the Consultant in charge of anaesthesia. He was taken to our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that same day after he was examined in our Casualty. He was operated on on the 24th of August, and we continued to manage him in the ICU, because of the nature of the injury, and he gave up on the 27th. That is the information available in the folder,” he said.
He added that the family ought to have reported his alleged plight to the SERVICOM unit of the hospital, and it would have been dealt with. He said the hospital’s CMD would be happy to deal with any issue arising from the death of Emmanuel if the family reached out to him.
But all that will not bring the deceased back to life; neither will it heal the hearts of his former colleagues at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Abuja, who learnt a great deal from his doggedness to up the ante of his life.
Nor will it comfort his wife, two little children, his mother, and siblings who have lost a breadwinner.
In a tribute titled Doctors As murderers: The Story of Citizen Emmanuel Israel Atsar, a close associate of Atsar, Owelle Chigbolumogu gives a heart-rending account of what happened to his friend.
“The atmosphere was chaotic. The fear, tension and apprehension were almost palpable. The people that brought him to the emergency ward solicited sympathetic assistance from everyone that paraded the ward, wearing overcoat. Every one of them asked for money to open file, get hospital card or do the medically needful.
In the labyrinth of this confusion, this badly “accidented” body laid in one corner unattended to, for about eight hours; while medical merchandising went on and commercial trade-offs were negotiated. By the time we checked, he had laid helpless for eight hours bleeding internally; going in and out of coma.
“To attend to him, the doctors had allegedly asked for a deposit of N150, 000.00; and an accompanying undertaking by a relation of the patient that the medical bill has chances of being met. And when finally their demand was met, a doctor cut open the head to drain blood, instead of incision to drain blood. And so, Emma died.
“The story of Citizen Emmanuel Israel Atsar is replicated across the Nigerian medical space, the story of “money for hand, back for ground”.
Emma, as his family and friends called him, he added, was a Youth Corps member on posting to Owerri, Imo State, was to end service this September, 2016. But last month, precisely on August 23, he was knocked down by a tricycle. Four days later, his spirit was gone from the face of the earth.
Emma had left Owerri to visit his family in Abuja. On his way from the bank where he had gone to withdraw some money, he was knocked down, and was said to have sustained serious head injury.
Eyewitness accounts recalled Emma’s struggles to stay alive, his will to live, but no doctor or nurse came to his aid because there was no family member to make a deposit before he could be treated…. The only assistance the doctors could allegedly offer Emmanuel was to tie his legs to restrain him from struggling and further constituting a nuisance, according to the accounts of the events by some patients.”
The story of Citizen Emmanuel must stimulate debates on how citizens are treated in this country by healthcare professionals especially in government health institutions.
His was made more pathetic because he was a tree that made a forest, the sole breadwinner in his immediate and extended family. He started as a driver but was challenged to go back to school, a challenge he willingly accepted. He later recalled that the happiest moment in his life was the day he presented his Higher National Diploma (HND) to his boss and that was also the proudest moment of his boss and indeed to all his friends and relatives.
But today in Vandekya, Benue State, what is left of Emma “goes six feet under, because some men and women chose to ignore the Hippocratic oath they swore to,” a friend of his, Owelle says. “What hypocrisy of a profession and a system,” another chips in.