Nigerian Hospitals and The Death of The Nigerian Spirit
These subjects have been eating away at me for the past 2 weeks, it keeps blowing hot and cold in my mind, but the events of the last 2 days have just made it impossible for me not to get this off my chest.
I have had conversations with people about their experiences with Nigerian hospitals, how they have lost loved ones to the sheer non-nonchalance of Hospital authorities, Doctors and nurses. I shall recount a few of the stories I have heard:
Zainab’s aunt got involved in a road accident, and fell unconscious immediately. Good samaritans (the few left, I shall get to this in a bit) who came to her rescue rushed her to General Hospital Abuja Emergency wing . The authorities of the hospital refused to take in the patient, nor administer potentially life saving first aid treatment until a deposit is made by the people who brought her in. The victim was left at the entrance of the Hospital, on the bare floor. The Good Samaritans managed to contact her family, who rushed down and quickly mobilized to take her to another hospital. Getting an ambulance was a big challenge, and when they finally got one it developed a fault on the way. The victim gave up the ghost right there in the ambulance, many hours after the accident later.
My colleague’s brother, TJ, and his friends were coming from an evening out and ran into a stationary truck, just outside Ceedi Plaza, in Abuja. Him and the other occupants of the vehicle were rushed to the National Hospital. My colleague’s brother was still breathing as at when they arrived at the emergency wing of the hospital. The hospital authorities refused to take the victims in, or administer first aid until a Police report is produced. My colleague’s brother, a promising young man in his 30s, died right there, unattended at the hospital.
Yesterday we got news that Shedrack, a promising football talent, who works for us, and who is scheduled to travel out of the country in a few months to the Middle East to play football, had been knocked down by a hit and run vehicle that veered unto the pedestrian path where he was walking. For 4 hours, Shedrack was lying unconscious in the gutter, with people gathered around looking at his still, badly battered body. They neither attempted to bring him out and rush him to the hospital, nor call the authorities, probably for fear of what the hospitals will subject them to. In the end, someone, probably God sent, called the police who came and found that the victim was still alive. They took him ,with half of his head broken, and the whole of his back opened up, to the Abuja National Hospital.
These 3 real life stories point to a simple fact – The Nigerian Health system is dead along with it the Nigerian spirit.
Abuja National Hospital is supposed to be the flagship of the Nigerian health system, it is supposed to be equipped with state of the art equipment, and staffed by the best medical personnel in Nigeria. If the National Hospital is this poor, what does that say of the hospitals in the smaller towns and cities that dot the landscape of Nigeria?
It beats me how even Doctors who swore to the Hippocratic oath, part of which reads thus;
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing ……
can stand by and watch an accident victim brought to the emergency room die,slowly, or violently, in pain, pain that can’t be imagined by anyone alive. Isn’t an emergency room supposed to be a place where the wounded and dying come to and are given a chance, even if it is a slim one, at survival. That is not what we have now, we have a place where someone gets brought to just to have the smell of methylated spirit and chloroform as the last earthly smell he or she will perceive. Why should a hospital insist on a Police report or a deposit before attending to an accident victim at the “Emergency” wing of a hospital? Why for God’s sake? How can a hospital turn a blind eye and watch a man or woman, who could have survived if quick medical attention was brought his or her way, bleed to death? Is that what hospitals were made for, is that how bad things have become in our country? Why not save the life, even if it is that of a criminal, and then call in the Police? I can remember that even the Police have come out to deny that they demand that Hospitals ask for a report before treating even a gunshot victim. There is a God in heaven, and I hope he can forgive all of these.
The attitude of the hospitals has eventually eroded the spirit of humanity that we used to be known for as Nigerians. Who wants to help an accident victim to the hospital and get into the “high jump” that the Hospital or the Police will put them through? Why bother rushing Shedrack to the Hospital and be made to cough out whatever deposit they ask for? who wants to live for the rest of their lives with the horror of watching a victim die, slowly, painfully, just because they could not cough out the deposit?
The Hospitals are dead, the Nigerian spirit is dead. We are at the mercy of our God and good fortune. It doesn’t matter if one is very rich or very poor, when accidents happen family might not be able to get there on time to rush one to the kind of hospital good money can pay for. The moments after an accident leaves one at the mercy of the humane spirit of the eyewitnesses to the incidence. These days that spirit doesn’t live with us anymore.
May God continue to protect us.