UCTH Ebola scare: Accident and Emergency Unit reopened, eye witnesses recount experience
The Accident and Emergency (A and E) unit of the University of Calabar Teaching (UCTH) has been reopened as the 15 medical staff members and eight others quarantined or isolated were released on Saturday at the instance of the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr. Queeneth Kalu.
The A and E unit was reopened and hospital staff were seen carrying all equipment back for full operation after the entire premises and its environment decontaminated.
The medical persons who were isolated but kept inside the building for three days could not be immediately traced it was gathered that they have not come to work yet as the hospital authourity had given them some days off to recover from the shock of the three days trauma in isolation without contact with the outside world except the food the hospital management arranged for them.
Eye witnesses, who saw when the suspected Ebola patient was admitted and equally saw when the isolated hospital were released said they were excited to be out as one of them shout, “God I thank you it was not Ebola. What would have happened to us?”
One of the eyewitnesses and a staff of the hospital said “one of them is my friend. She said, “it was a horrible experience for us. But since it is our work we had to take it. We missed our families but we thank god it was not Ebola because so many people would have been involved.”
More facts emerged on the recent Ebola scare incident indicating that the 21 year old suspect who caused the scare must have died out of negligence.
The boy was said to have suffered from chicken pox and had taken septrin, which resulted to the bleeding and eventually he was kept for over three hours because the doctors and nurses were scared and his sample was not taken when he was alive.
Another eye witness an anatomist said the 15 staff, who were quarantined panicked but could not do otherwise when the patient was brought in and they could not leave.
He further said that “the boy came in at about 10pm with the parents and the sister but was not attended to until three hours after as the doctors and nurses suspected Ebola and the boy was isolated and kept for a long time before he could be attended to.
“When the boy was alive, the doctors refused to take the sample of him for a test but when he later died, but now that the patient is gone they now referred to a pathologist. Are you not a doctor?
“The first doctor was called and he drove down but when he got to the accident and emergency unit were the boy was, he drove off. The second doctor did the same thing and they switched off their phones. They now called an anatomist me but I disappeared too because life is only one and there is no duplicate. You see if you die they will not write in your face anatomist.
“Later it was one of the second Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) Dr. Ikpi. The boy died at about 7.30 am but the sample was not taken until at about 10 pm of that day September 7 Dr. Edet Ikpi came and the person was dead.”
“The late boy was said to have been left in a stretcher just by the passage of the A and E unit until the time the test was taken.”
When asked if he saw the people who were quarantined as at when they were released, he said, “yes I saw them but I did not even go close to them. I just waved at them and said sorry. If that thing was Ebola so many people would have died”.
Another eye witness, who was there to see his mother (an accident victim) when the boy was brought in Mr. Ben Akak, a business man said he had to walk away when he discovered that they were suspecting Ebola and the people inside the unit were to be locked in.
“It was about 10.15pm the young man came with his parents and what I noticed was that I saw some blood on his face,” Akak said adding, “but I noticed that his parents were having some discussion because the doctor raised alarm saying why do you bring this kind of patient and what is the problem and the mother said it was chicken pox. They said for how long and she said for over two weeks.
“The doctor expressed surprise that he was not brought in earlier even though the mother said he was initially taken to the General Hospital. At that point the doctor advised her to take the boy to the General Hospital but the mother insisted he was not going anywhere because she had bought the card. The doctor now went and secluded the boy and at that point I left but the parents were very confident that the boy will survive.
“After all the young man was still strong because he walked to the place where they asked him to lie down. I did not see it as a life threatening situation apart from his appearance that carried blood stains on his face. I did not see it as a panic situation and the parents did not panic. There was no confusion and when the issue of Ebola came I was surprised.