Panic in Delta over Death of Newborns in Hospital

Fear engulfed some residents of Delta state as four newborn babies reportedly suffered neonatal death, minutes after delivery at the Central General Hospital, Sapele.

The development led to protest by angry patients and visitors at the hospital.

Cause of the deaths of the children is not yet known but sources revealed there was no electricity and one doctor was allegedly drunk.

It was gathered the bereaved mothers gave birth last Thursday night/Friday morning and lost their babies in the labour ward.

Patients and visitors to the hospital, alleging negligence, took to protest in the premises, Friday morning, demanding that government intervenes and investigate the death of the infants.

A brother of one of the bereaved mothers, Mr Benjamin Ikeji, said his sister’s husband brought his pregnant wife to the hospital at about 5 pm on Thursday.

“When we brought her, the doctor told us my sister was not in labour yet and I waited till 10pm before going home. I called my sister this early morning, and she told me that the baby was stuck and the nurses told her they could do nothing since the doctor was not around”, Ikeji narrated.

“And when I came this morning, I met the doctor who told me there was nothing she could do since there was no light.

I bought fuel for them and the next thing I heard was that my sister’s baby was dead and all the babies delivered that night died”.

Mr Newton Oroba, who said his wife also lost her newborn after delivery at the labour ward in the hospital, same night, alleged the only doctor who was on duty that night was drunk.

“You could feel it from his breath when he came around 9pm, yesterday (Thursday), and when he left, he did not return”, Oroba stated.

He told Journalists that when the nurses observed he was worried around 3pm, they told him they had called the doctor and he was not picking “only to tell me my baby was dead.”

A nurse, who craved anonymity, said the number of newborns said to have died was not true, adding, “Two died in their mothers’ wombs, while two infants died after delivery, it is not the doctor’s fault.”

However,the nurse did not respond to the question on why the doctor was not around to attend to the women.

Pandemonium broke out when, on sighting the said doctor in company of others, some patients and relatives of the bereaved confronted him, demanding an explanation for his absence that night.

Other medical workers on duty, on sensing danger, took to their heels while the doctor escaped into one room and locked himself up.

The management of the hospital, however, drafted the police and vigilante men at about 10pm to calm the protest, but, a lawyer invited by one of the bereaved husbands said they would not let the issue lie low without taking action against the management.

The development paralyzed activities on Friday morning with the hospital main gate firmly padlocked while they left patients in wards unattended to.

46-year-old Onofekowho James, complained: “ Negligence has become a regular occurrence at the Sapele Central Hospital.”

Another patient told newsmen they collected N20,000 from her before they could treat her, saying that most drugs meant to be distributed free were now being sold.

Her words: “When the former medical director was here, he did not not allow this rubbish, now we are facing rubbish. “

Noticing that journalists were making inquiries from patients, some doctors chased them out of the premises, threatening to beat up the reporters.

“We will break your camera and beat you up and nothing will happen”, one of the doctors said, pushing a journalist violently, while others hurled insult at them.

One of the bereaved mothers hinted: “My lawyer has petitioned the hospital management for negligence, this I can assure you.”

She, however, turned down this reporter’s request to have her lawyer’s contact and get a copy of her petition.

The management of the hospital refused to comment on the matter while Delta State Commissioner for Health was also unreachable.

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