BY TUNDE OGUNTOLA
While there is no gainsaying the fact that social media in recent times is a catalyst that has helped to publicise some negative ills in the society. Via social media, people can now easily call out wrong practices, injustices, and have a voice in different situations.
Sadly, social media has also become a great way to spread fake news and misinformation by deliberately targeting the subconscious mind of users who gradually shape their sentiments on complex and controversial issues via information from various platforms.
Without proper checks, people have been fed with misinformation which some are later regretted. More saddening is the menace of fake news, propaganda that has become the order of the day leveraging on social media platforms.
During the #ENDSARS protest in the country with the popular hashtag #ENDSARS the case of a lady late Angela Igwetu who was allegedly shot in the chest and subsequently brought to Garki Hospital, and died some moments after was also brought to the fore.
Late Igwetu who was allegedly shot in the early hours of 4 July, 2018 by a police officer, while efforts were made by Garki Hospital, a Twitter user @segalink (SEGA L’éveilleur) tweeted “They left home at about 3 am and were shot at shortly after the checkpoint immediately after Ceddi Plaza by a police officer identified as Benjamin Peters. The bullet hits Angela on her side, by the midriff, and she began losing blood in the open roof vehicle.
“She was rushed to Garki Hospital, but they would not treat her until they see a police report despite the fact that the police officers were present. While the deliberations were ongoing, Angela bled to death.”
Acknowledging that he misled the public with his tweet he again tweeted: “True. She was attended to, but she lost a lot of blood already as gathered.”
Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP Sunday the medical director, Garki Hospital, Dr Nyomudim Essien, said the management of the hospital is deeply saddened by the loss of Angela who he described as a young patriotic Nigerian. He also commiserated with the family, the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), and all Nigerians on the untimely loss, and prayed for God to comfort the family.
Giving a detailed explanation on the role of the hospital from its CCTV footage, Essien said the first three minutes (3:12 – 3:15 am) the victim was brought to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of Garki Hospital at 3:12 am by two men. He said the staffers of the A&E Department were alerted by the loud music and honking of a car and immediately swing into action.
He explained that the doctor on duty quickly assessed the victim, realised the case was quite severe seeing the victim soaked in blood, and shortly with the nurse, moved a stretcher outside to the A&E bay, and took the victim from the car assisted by the men that brought her into the hospital.
Essien said by 3:15 am, the victim was wheeled into the Trauma Section of the A&E Department and within this period, he said the hospital’s security men informed the two policemen stationed at the hospital that it was a case of gunshot injury.
He continued: “The next 15 minutes (3:15 – 3:30 am) the doctor with the nurses did a quick evaluation of the victim and found her lifeless and gasping. There were no palpable peripheral pulses and blood pressure was not recordable. The oxygen saturation was not recordable. Her pupils were dilated and non-reactive to light and her level of consciousness was 3/15 (the lowest for any person). This is short of saying she was brain dead at the time. Irrespective of this, the doctors swung into action to see if their effort might just make a difference.
“Her airway was cleared and an airway was inserted. She was given oxygen at 7L/min. Attempts were made to set a line (drip) for the victim. This was difficult because the veins were all collapsed. A large-bore cannula would have been best, but this was not possible under the circumstances. The doctors finally got to set a line with a small-bore cannula and rushed in fluid (normal saline).
“Unfortunately, the rate at which it was flowing was not good enough because a small-bore cannula was used. A second line was set up and another saline infusion was set up (the second drip) to run concurrently. The doctors and nurses thereafter lifted the victim and cut off the victim’s brassiere. The entry wound was deemed and packed with a pressure dressing.
“CCTV images show one of the nurses made a call at 3.19 am for the surgical team on call to come and provide assistance in care. The doctor hurried to the Pharmacy to pick up Haemacel, a plasma expander, to set up for the patient. The doctor was unable to get samples for laboratory tests, because of collapsed veins and the low filling pressure in the veins.”
Speaking further Essien said, “CCTV images at 3:17 – 3:19 am show that the hospital’s security man leads the two policemen that are stationed in the hospital at night come into the A&E department. He said throughout this period, the doctors and nurses have not even had time to talk to the two men that brought the victim because everybody has the mindset that if there would be any difference in the outcome, this critical 15 minutes would be most important and there was no change in the patient’s condition despite intervention.
He noted that for practical purposes, any person with such a poor level of vital signs for 18 minutes would certainly be deemed brain dead.
He said in the next 60 minutes staff reinforcement has succeeded, three more doctors from the surgical team have joined the team and a blood sample now gotten by femoral tap.
Essien said the sample was subsequently sent to the laboratory for investigations, and the patient was now registered in the hospital although the men who brought her gave the wrong name of “Angela Igwele”.
He said the staff discussed with the two men who brought the victim about the cost of the care, and the need to inform the family members and to get people to donate blood for the victim.
At this point, he said the A&E Doctor sign for one unit of blood from the blood bank for the victim, which he said could not be transfused immediately as it had to be warmed before transfusion.
He said, “The consultant had already been informed and he further gave instructions for care and preparation for some limited surgery. The police DPO came in with her men to also see what was happening.
“Two units of blood were transfused. A chest tube was inserted by the consultant surgeon and two litres of blood drained from the chest. The patient had a cardiac arrest and her heart was restarted by cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Garki Hospital acknowledges the help of the Police DPO in getting a chest tube for the victim. There were some logistic problems in getting a chest tube for the victim.
“In the last 25 minutes prior to her demise, the sister to the victim and her friend arrived at the A&E department. The victim had another cardiac arrest. Doctors who were not willing to give up continued prolonged CPR for the victim. The victim was certified dead at 6:10 am.”
He said after the death of the deceased, the payment for her treatment was made about three hours after her death by 9:37 am.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the alleged negligence of Garki Hospital triggered a chain of investigations namely: the Nigeria Police, the Youths and Sports Development Committee of the Nigeria Senate, the National Human Rights Commission and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Instructively, no evidence of negligence was found against Garki Hospital or its personal by the above bodies.
At the moment, Igwetu’s family has again dragged Garki Hospital before the #ENDSARS panel still on the false and discredited allegation of negligence. The #ENDSARS panel will reconvene on 8 April, 2021 to view the videos that would reveal the falsehood in the lingering allegation.
It would be recalled that an internal memo by the hospital dated 25 May, 2012 by the acting medical director, Dr Dickson Bada, on the handling of patients who do not have money at hand or are indigent noted that “patients on emergency cases should be given treatment and asked to write an undertaking for payment to be made later.”
Meanwhile, a summary of facts from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) signed by an investigation officer, Aliyu Bukar, dated 13 December, 2018 stated that the commission received three separate complaints from Mr Daniel Eraga, a non-governmental organisation Gavel, as well as Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants on behalf of the family of Miss Linda Angela Igwetu, and the trio were consolidated for appropriate determination by the commission.
The complainants alleged refusal by Garki Hospital, Abuja to provide timely treatment and care to Miss Igwetu which led to her death.
After ”due diligence” by the NHRC they advised the family to sue for a civil claim against Nigeria Police, saying the “investigation does not reveal any case of professional negligence or violation of the treatment of gunshot victims by Garki Hospital.”