‘My wife died because of negligence’
• ‘There’s a doctor 24 hours. The incident was tragic and unfortunate, ’ hospital claims
THE family members of Onome, from Agbarho Town in Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State is still trying to put behind them the tragedy that shook the family on September 19, 2014, when their wife, Onajite Otiotio Onome, popularly called Jite, died at Saint George’s Memorial Hospital, located at No. 6 Rasheed Alaba Williams, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, under what they described as “avoidable and questionable circumstances.”
The family alleged negligence on the part of the hospital management. The joy in the home of Samuel and Onojite Onome knew no bounds when after eight years of marriage; their greatest dream of being blessed with babies was to become a reality because it was a set of twins.
Having confirmed her pregnancy, elated Onajite Onome, spared nothing to make sure she received the best possible anti-natal care they could afford.
It was in anticipation for the best that she registered at Saint George’s Memorial Hospital in Lekki Phase 1, a hospital she held in very high esteem and religiously followed every single advice she received from the medical expert, which was expected after waiting eight years for that moment.
Event, however, took a different turn when in the fourth/fifth month of the pregnancy, Jite’s husband, Onome, said she noticed some anomalies and went to the hospital with her husband to make complaints.
“She was observed for about two hours, the heartbeats of the children were examined, no scan was, however, carried out to ascertain if anything was wrong.
“Again, six months into the pregnancy, she noticed another anomaly, she went to the hospital to complain. She was subjected to the same routine of ‘checking for heartbeats’. She was given some medications and sent home, without scanning to know if all was, indeed, well with the babies.
“On September 19, 2014, Onojite experienced contractions, which prompted her being rushed to the clinic. On getting there at about 8.45p.m., there was no doctor on duty to attend to her. She was placed on bed rest, a supposed female medical practitioner, who attended to her reportedly conducted checks on parts of her body, including her stomach, and continuously asked if she felt any pains.
“She said she did not, but that her legs were lifeless, her breathing was abnormal. She was restless, ‘Jesus where are you’, she cried. All these while, it was alleged that no experienced medical professional attended to her and she later died,” the husband recounted to The Guardian.
Going by the account of incidents that preceded her death, there was no proof that the lady who earlier attended to Onojite was an experienced doctor, as it was alleged that while attending to the deceased, she would go to the computer to check up something, then get back to attend to the deceased.
The doctor reportedly arrived at the hospital at about 11.16p.m., and the deceased’s husband, Mr. Samuel Onome, was asked to purchase blood somewhere on Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere at about 11.22p.m.
That was the last time Onome saw his wife alive, as she reportedly gave up the ghost at about 11.50p.m. on September 19, 2014.
Corroborating Onome’s story, a friend and neighbour of the Onomes at their Abraham Adesanya residence, Ajah, Lekki, simply identified as Tony, said he witnessed the incident because it was himself and his wife that drove Onojite to the hospital that night.
According to Tony, “that Friday night, I was at home when Onojite called my wife and said she was not comfortable at all, that she wanted us to take her to the hospital, as her husband was not around. I called her husband to let him know what was going on, he said he was on his way.
“I thought Jite was in labour, we were getting ready to go over to her place when she knocked at our gate, that was when it dawned on us that it must have been something more serious, for her to risk the discomfort of walking over to our residence. I wanted us to wait for her husband, but then he called and told us that he was close to the house, but his car broke down, that instead of wasting time, I should drive his wife to the hospital, that he would be on the phone to direct us to the place and then join us there later.
“I hurriedly wore a singlet and drove off, my wife came along. I was even happy, I thought it was just labour pain, I and my wife were telling her to be strong, that very soon, she would be delivered of the babies. That was when she told me that it was not labour pain, that her delivery date was supposed to be in December 2014. All the while, Jite was being strong, despite the pain, she even directed me when I took a wrong turn in Lekki Phase 1.
“When we got to the hospital gate, they delayed us, asking for her identity and if she was registered with them, to the extent that the husband, whose car broke down on the way, came to meet us there. It was when we were about driving in, that her husband got there.
“At the reception, the people we met showed no sign of interest. They took their time to get her file, and all that. When it was time to take her upstairs to be examined, I thought they would at that point get a stretcher or something, but they didn’t. It was myself, my wife and her husband that assisted her up the stairs to the labour room. By this time, her eyes had changed and she was wriggling in pain. I also noticed that the people we met at the hospital at the time were inexperienced, as they called the doctor on phone for anything Onojite requested for, even when she said she wanted to drink water. She was also having internal bleeding,” he said.
“When the doctor got there later, he said Onojite was short of blood, and asked us to go and buy blood somewhere in Surulere. We were on our way there, when Mr. Onome’s phone rang, the person who called asked us not to bother anymore about the blood, that we should turn back. Mr. Onome told me that something bad had happened. On getting back to the hospital, the husband went inside, not long after that, I heard him crying.
“I never realized that incident would take her life, I thought, at most, she would lose the babies. It was total negligence on the side of the hospital. If something had been done by the time this lady was brought to the hospital, her life would have been saved. If the hospital had an experienced doctor on duty and perhaps, even the babies could have been saved and incubated. A hospital that charges so much money should have qualified nurses and doctors on duty always and a blood bank,” he said.
Five months after the incident, it was alleged that nothing was heard from the management of Saint George’s Memorial Hospital, Lekki or any explanation or apology rendered to the deceased husband, Mr. Samuel Onome.
The family noted that they are now bringing the story to public domain in order to ensure justice is delivered with a view to averting such error by the hospital in future.
One Dr. Faye Iketubosin, who works in the hospital, confirmed the story to The Guardian on telephone, stressing that the allegation that no doctor was on duty when Onojite was brought in was not true.
He said: “There is a doctor here 24 hours. It is sad because that incident was a tragic and unfortunate case. Contrary to the notion that the hospital showed no sign of remorse concerning the incident, I have spoken with the deceased’s father, Dr. Otiotio, who is a pharmacist, a couple of times over the phone, concerning the incident.
“A post-mortem was conducted on the deceased, and the result revealed she died as a result of complications, which had a low survival chance. With respect to ‘doctor/patient’ confidentiality, I will not be able to discuss further on the incident. We have never lost anybody in the history of our hospital. I have to respect the confidentiality of the patient even if she is dead because that is the oath we took as doctors except we are compelled by a court of law to do so.”