(INVESTIGATION) Shortage of Doctors, equipment killing accident victims in Kaduna Public Hospitals

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By; MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna.
When the news of six Medical Doctors from Ekiti State, South West Nigeria who lost their lives in Kaduna, North West in April this year was reported, the whole country was thrown into confusion and shocked.
The late Doctors were on their way to Sokoto State to attend the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Meeting when they perished after the tyre of their 18 seater bus busted while on high speed. They were rushed to Doka General Hospital along Kaduna – Abuja highway for emergency treatment because the scene of the accident was a stone throw away from the hospital.
Unfortunately, the six Doctors died because there was no Doctor colleagues of their as at the time they were rushed there and there was equally no emergency equipment needed to treat them.
The hospital was built by the government to provide emergency services to victims of accidents along that road which was why it was sighted at a very strategic location.
In fact, not until the accident occurred, little did citizens know about the condition of the General Hospital Doka located along Kaduna – Abuja high way.
One of the surviving Ekiti Doctors said they were taken to the hospital, after the accident, but there was only one nurse on duty and there were no adequate emergency equipment to cater for the needs of the accidented doctors.
Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ekiti State branch, Dr. John Akinbote who spoke on his hospital bed then said lack of immediate medical attention was responsible for his colleagues’ death.
“Those that died would have survived if we got good medical attention from the point of the accident to the Doka General Hospital in Kaduna,” he said as quoted in a media report.
The death of the medical practitioners was what prompted a team of investigative journalists among them the Oslo Correspondent to investigate the negligence that led to the death of the six doctors.
The team discovered that the hospital was grossly under staffed and ill-equipped to provide any emergency service.
The situation is the same with all public hospitals in Kaduna State North West part of Nigeria.
An investigation into operations of the hospitals revealed that the hospitals in Kaduna are a mere shadow of what they represent, particularly Doka Hospital which has a clearly dilapidated buildings, with ill-motivated workforce who are desperately waiting for their retiring dates to quit.
The situation is not different at Yusuf Dantsoho Specialist Hospital Tudun Wada Kaduna, where our team discovered no single Doctor on call at about 9 pm. Only a nurse was seen on duty at the Out Patient Department; other nurses were also seen checking on patients in their wards.
The team met Malam Salisu whose father was admitted by the OPD Doctor on a Monday date.  Salisu said a day later, they couldn’t see the next doctor to prescribe drugs for his sick father.
“When we came in the morning, it was the OPD Doctor that saw my dad, admitted him and put him on drugs. But as I speak to you now, we are still waiting to see the next doctor to check on him. We were told that he was a consultant and so he will not be in the hospital until Wednesday.
“We have conducted six tests as prescribed by the OPD Doctor. They are all in his folder, but there’s no Doctor to make comment on them because the consultant Doctor has not come.”
This is the same story at other department like Pediatrics, where the team heard patients and their relatives complaining about their consultant too.
“You can only see Doctors in the afternoon not in the night.” One of them said
On inquiry, a security guard said, “If there is any emergency by 12 midnight only Nurses check on patients, because the Doctor on duty will not be around. This is unfortunate,” he said.
According to him, he knew of a man who brought his wife who was in labour around midnight but had to leave because there was no Doctor to check on her.
“The man has no choice but to take her out of the hospital because the pregnancy came with complication,” he said.
Usman was once admitted at Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital about two weeks ago, he narrated his ordeal to the team.
“Throughout my stay I can’t remember seeing any of the Doctors visiting us in the night. Mostly, the Doctor would come on visitation by 9 pm after which you will not see them until the following day.
“The Doctor sometimes do come around when there is an emergency case, if not, only Nurses will check on patients. The sad thing is when it’s Friday, the moment they leave no one will be around, till Monday,” he said.
There were reports that most of the Doctors abandoned their duties for their privately owned hospitals.
A source who worked with a private pharmaceutical company in the state told the team that people say the Doctors abandon their night duties to be able to work in their private hospitals, or in other private hospitals where they work.
“I know this because I market drugs in hospitals, I do come in the night to see their pharmacists and I know the kind of things I do see here.
“This is not happening only in Yusuf Dantsoho hospital, it’s the same story in other public hospitals within the metropolis where I go to market my products. So, it has become normal for Doctors to abandon their patients in the night,” he said.
A visit to General Hospital Kawo at night, brought to light the agony patients and their relatives go through when they seek medical assistance at that hour. Hardly do they meet a Doctor to check on them.
Most patients expressed dissatisfaction over absence of Doctors to attend to them. Our team visited the hospital as patients at about 10 pm, but were told the Doctor had gone on break. The team waited till midnight, but the Doctor did not return.
Earlier in a conversation, a medical worker, who said the Doctor had gone on break had discouraged our team from waiting for the Doctor, but stood firm that the Doctor would soon return.
Those on admission had also complained about the attitudes of the medical workers of not coming to check on patients at night. Adding that “hardly do we see Doctors on call in the night,” said a patient’s relative.
One of the patients (name withheld) said “I have been here since last week to look after my sick mother.
“We only see Doctors in the day, once it is night, only Nurses come to instruct our patients to take their drugs and even check the sick ones. I have seen many people take their sick ones back home when they come in at night. This is because there are no Doctors on calls at night”.
One other discovery at the Kawo Hospital is the absence of a generator to power the hospital facility at night. Patients and their relatives heavily rely on their mobile phone torch lights to brighten their surroundings. Most rely on dry cell powered touch lights as there is hardly enough power to recharge their mobile phones or rechargeable touch lights
A senior staff at the Dantsoho Hospitals who didn’t want his name published said the problem has to do with inadequate Doctors and Nurses in the hospital.
According to him, they have only few Nurses and Doctors working presently. “We have short of Doctors and Nurses with majority of them going on retirement soon. If this happened it will be unfortunate,” he said.
He appealed to the government to make health workers salary attractive so that more people will join the service and make the health sector better.

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