Deborah Doofan, a University of Port Harcourt undergraduate, passed away outside the emergency room of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Surulere, due to a shortage of available beds to admit her there for quick medical attention. Her family has been plunged into sadness.
Our correspondent learned that Doofan had hyperthyroidism up to her passing, a disorder marked by an overactive thyroid gland that causes a quick heartbeat and an accelerated rate of metabolism.
Our correspondent discovered that Doofan, a student at UNIPORT studying banking and finance at the 100-level, was attending class when she experienced a medical emergency and was taken to the UNIPORT Teaching Hospital.
Doofan’s older brother, Prince, revealed to our correspondent that his sister was undergoing medical care in a hospital when she was eventually identified as having hyperthyroidism in January 2022.
He said that she was about to receive treatment when the medical staff noticed that she had a swollen heart and sent her to LUTH to see doctors for her ailment.
Thus, on December 24, 2022, she left Port Harcourt and traveled to Lagos, Prince claimed. When we called LUTH to see if any of their specialists were on the scene, we were informed that the machine that would be utilized to treat hyperthyroidism was not operating.
“The LUTH referred her to the University College Hospital, Ibadan. When we got there, a doctor said she would go through lots of treatments to bring the swollen heart down because her heart was beating very fast.
“She needed to see specialists including an endocrinologist, neurologist, and cardiologist, among others, but the doctor said UCH has the machine for the treatment but the specialists were not on the ground and that she needed to see a cardiologist to certify that her heart was in a good position for them to put her on a machine for the treatment.”
The native of Benue State claimed that they were instructed to visit specialists at LUTH and bring the results to the UCH for treatment. They continued to follow this advice from January until February 2023, when problems with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new naira design began to affect the nation.
He added, “To see a specialist was very expensive and because my funds were trapped in banks, it became very difficult for her to continue seeing the specialists and continuing the treatments. So, she was just taking oral drugs but the tablets were not effective, so her condition started getting worse.
“Before that, the swollen stomach and legs were going down, and she was getting better. She woke up one day and became restless; we tried to sort out funds to go to the cardiologist in LUTH, but when we got there, we were told to go to the UCH to get her admitted for doctors and specialists to treat her and monitor her condition.”
Prince stated that Doofan had been given a Monday (today) appointment to begin her therapy, and that she was preparing to do so when she experienced a crisis and had to be rushed to the Epe General Hospital, where she was then transferred to the LUTH.
We arrived at LUTH at around two in the morning, dialed the emergency number, and the security guards at the Emergency Ward began to inquire as to what the situation was. Later, when a doctor arrived, I showed him the reference paperwork. He checked her pulse and temperature with his thermometer before going back inside.
“After a few minutes, he returned and told us that their beds were occupied and there was no bed space to treat her. I pleaded with him to give her first aid or something to stabilize her pending the time that there would be a bed space for proper treatment to commence.
“But he said their policy does not allow them to give treatment outside the hospital. I then begged him that he should allow me to take her inside the emergency ward and that I would sit on the floor, and carry her on my lap so he can give her first aid treatment but he still said no. She died at the front of the emergency ward while I was looking for a bench or table to place her on.”
He claimed that the family had started making arrangements for her sister’s burial in their hometown of Benue.
When reached, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, the chairman of the medical advisory committee at LUTH, acknowledged being informed of the circumstance.
“I am aware, but I do not yet have the specifics,” Adeyemo added. I sent the tale to the department head after finding it on the internet, and I am currently awaiting their reaction.
“When we observe a patient in that situation, we investigate; occasionally, people arrive and there are no available beds, so we refer them. But, in the event of a very dire need, we immediately notify them that there is no room and provide them with alternatives.
Adeyemo stated that regardless of funding, the hospital’s duty was to serve patients in accordance with Federal Government policy.
Added he. The government is building a new hospital that will provide us with more space since the population is expanding and because it has been responsible. We are not the only ones with this issue.
As it is an emergency, we won’t say anything before chasing the folks away. We have a very good policy for interacting with our patients, so it is tragic that this patient passed away.
All of these issues will be resolved within a few months. A new structure is being built in the hospital, and many of our wards are undergoing renovations. After we are finished, we would have extra room.