Workers at the Randle General Hospital, Surulere, Lagos State, are in panic after a COVID-19 patient brought to the hospital died of the infection.
According to Sunday PUNCH, the victim a 65-year-old woman, had presented to the hospital on Sunday with difficulty in breathing.
She was said to have been treated before some doctors asked that she be taken to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, which is also within the neighbourhood.
However, the federal hospital was said to have rejected her, as she was returned to Randle.
She was said to have died at the general hospital shortly after her return.
A source told newsmen that she was tested for the virus on Monday after officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control were invited to the hospital.
However, apprehensive medical workers were not informed of the result until Friday, as tension mounted.
He said, “The woman was a petty trader. She sold drugs to people and had a fever, which I believed she tried to treat on her own.
“But when she could no longer manage it, she came to the hospital on Sunday morning and was admitted. Her main complaint was difficulty in breathing, so she was taken as a case of heart failure.
“The woman also had diabetes. The patient was seen by two doctors, who checked her medical history. The woman was not breathing well. Those doctors then handed her over to another set of doctors, who took over the shift from them.
“The new set of doctors thought that it could be a COVID-19 case and alerted the managing director and the NCDC was invited to take her samples on Monday.”
Another source said shortly after the samples were taken, the patient was taken to LUTH by noon. However, she was rejected.
“The LUTH doctors told our people who took her there that the patient did not meet up with the COVID-19 criteria. She was then brought back to the general hospital.
“The doctors and nurses did their best, but after about one hour, she died,” the source said.
The death sparked panic among members of staff, who were apprehensive of the result of the test earlier conducted by the NCDC.
A worker at the hospital accused the Medical Director, Dr Aduke Odutayo, of keeping the result secret until some doctors threatened to take the matter up.
“That was when she told us, and she said only two people will go on isolation since others don’t have symptoms.
“The anger is that many doctors and nurses have come in contact with the woman. They had changed shifts, met with other patients, went home and met their family members.
“The MD is not willing to shut down the hospital. She has also refused to allow all her staff to go for tests, especially those who had contact with the patient. She only fumigated the isolation centre, the emergency room and the ambulance that took the woman to LUTH,” the source added.
Our correspondent observed that the isolation centre of the hospital was unkempt, with poor ventilation.
A source said officials of the NCDC had asked the management of the hospital to refurbish the area, saying it was not good for human habitation.
“A lot of people may be in danger; the entire Surulere area may not be safe. The deceased was hypertensive. She had had a fever before that time. You can’t imagine the number of people she might have come in contact with. They call her Iyabo,” the source said.
Another worker said she had decided to stop going to work until the management gave an official response on the case.
The worker told newsmen that the hospital had kept silent about the case.
The MD of the hospital, Odutayo, confirmed the incident, adding that the NCDC had been contacted.
She said, “True, NCDC is on top of it. They are coming in to check everybody who might have had contact with the case you may be referring to.
“We have also told all staff members who are agitated enough and don’t want to wait for the NCDC that they should go to the mainland that there is a fast-tracking and you have the right to be tested immediately.”