Mrs. Audu Abdullahi was to put to bed on Saturday. As her husband and family all waited to hear the joyful cry of a new baby, the doctors came out with the sad news; the expectant mother could not be delivered through the normal process. She would be required to undergo a caesarean section.
The husband who was downcast by this news was particularly worried because the delivery coincided with the fuel subsidy removal and the attendant protest. He told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY: “I didn’t have much money on me, as I had spent hugely during the yuletide and we were not expecting the baby till February. But I had to run around to get money for the operation”.
Abdullahi got the money and his wife was operated upon on Saturday at the Suleja General Hospital, Niger State. Unfortunately, she lost the baby. But the doctors battled hard to save her life. She was required to stay in the hospital for some days in order to recuperate from the operation. However, on Monday, the doctors came with a bombshell; all the patients were to go back to their homes as the hospital staff were joining in the anti fuel subsidy removal protest. The hospital discharged all the patients on admission, following the nationwide strike called by the organised labour.
It came as a surprise to the patients because they did not expect the doctors to join in the strike. Unfortunately, these professionals that owe it a duty to save lives chose to ignore their calling leaving the patients to their fate.
When LEADERSHIP SUNDAY visited the hospital, the workers had deserted their duty posts in protest over the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government, just as the hospital gate was shut and patients who were rushed there were rejected and directed to go to other clinics.
Our reporter learnt from the patients that the hospital’s management asked them to leave the premises for their own good because no doctor would attend to them.
As at last Wednesday, three days after the declaration of the strike action, only three patients were left in the almost 200 capacity hospital, when our reporter visited the hospital. Even the families of the patients were making frantic efforts to move them to different hospitals.
Abdullahi, whose wife was admitted in the emergency ward of the hospital, described the situation as unfortunate.
“As it is, my heart is troubled because of this development; my wife was operated on Saturday and she is yet to recover. As you can see, she is still bleeding but the hospital management asked us to leave. As I am talking to you I don’t have a dime, I have spent all my money, and I can’t even take her to a private clinic. I have resolved to take her home to seek traditional remedy”, he said.
Our reporter noticed Mrs. Abdullahi was still bleeding when she was being moved into a waiting taxi. The husband said: “My neighbours paid for this taxi you are seeing and I just put my faith in God to help my wife”.
He said further, “the doctors came and asked us to leave the hospital but as you can see I am just leaving today (two days after they were discharged) because I was hoping they will see my wife’s condition and have a rethink or by some miracle, they will call off the strike. But last night, we hear gun shots and because the hospital was deserted, my wife was terribly afraid and her condition almost worsened. This morning, I didn’t have a choice than to look for a means to take her home”
A little boy, Ibrahim, was another patient that was also being discharged when LEADERSHIP SUNDAY visited the hospital. He also went through operation.
His uncle expressed dismay over the action of the management and decried the sudden ‘eviction’ of the patients from the hospital. He said “though a staff of the hospital has given us his personal number that we can call him anytime and will come to the house to attend to us”.
Efforts to speak with the striking workers failed as those who were still in the hospital premises declined comment, while the hospital’s head of service could not be reached also.