Despite Covid -19 Spread: AE-FUTHA Resident Doctors Withdrew Services for Assault


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…Accused Person Arrested

By Agnes Nworie

 

The doctors under the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) Ebonyi state have withdrawn clinical services following the assault on one of their members by a patient’s relative on Wednesday, March 17th 2020.

The withdrawal which commenced on Thursday the 19th day of March 2020 was made known in a statement signed by President of the association in the state Dr Osuagwu Chidubem as they lamented that the most recent case was the 3rd time doctors while doing their legitimate duties had been assaulted by patients relative as well as 4 other recorded cases of near assaults witnessed in the said hospital within 2 months.

Dr Osuagwu regretted that most of the patients are brought to the hospital by their relatives very late which led to death in some cases and frowned that adopted diplomatic approaches including reaching out to the Management of AE-FUTHA, the police and other law enforcement agencies to stop the ugly trend of assault on them did not yield the desired fruit, hence the withdrawal of services till further notice.

He expressed appreciation to the hospital management for the arrest and planned prosecution of the most recent accused person who assaulted them, also threatened to burn down the hospital and stab to death any doctor he finds around the hospital and many other measures outlined to improve security for doctors on duty, insisted that until all the measures are well implemented their services shall remain withdrawn.

He appealed to the people to give them the necessary support to overcome the challenge.

“The doctors under the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) Ebonyi state withdraw clinical services yesterday, Thursday, March 19, 2020 following the assault on one of our members by a patient’s relative on Wednesday, March 17. The assailant had gone further to threaten to burn down the hospital and stab to death any doctor he finds around the hospital. This incident is the 3rd time doctors while doing their legitimate duties have been assaulted by patients relative in the last 2 months. Within this same period, there are 4 recorded cases of near assaults on doctors diligently carrying out their duties.

“ARD had within this period adopted diplomatic approaches including reaching out to the Management of AE-FUTHA, the police and other law enforcement agencies to see what can be done to stop this ugly trend. However, this approach as at today has not yielded the desired result.”

“We as doctors working in AE-FUTHA, we are facing very serious challenge in caring for Ebonyians and other patients from outside the state. Most of the time, the patients are presented very late to us when little or nothing can be done to save them. This is usually after they have spent several days in Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) homes, traditional medicine homes or even in their places of worship and are now at the point of death. Most of them come to hospital with no money and often times the doctors task themselves to contribute money to procure drugs to make sure these patients receive the appropriate treatment.”

“Doctors in AE-FUTHA are often called out in dare emergencies to donate blood to save the lives of some of the patients who were brought to hospital in shock from either vaginal bleeding or road traffic accident that require surgery and urgent blood transfusion to stay alive. Most of the relatives of these patients refuse donating blood to save them claiming either that they are not the patient’s husband or relative or that they will die if they donate blood.”

“The hospital Management has also been very sympathetic to the plight of Ebonyians and has gone out of her way to approve the treatment of patients even when they present without money to ensure that lives are saved at all costs.

“With all these in mind, it becomes very worrisome why this same people who have received this level of care and compassion from the doctors, other hospital staff and the hospital Management will turn around and pay back with assault on doctors and other health workers. We are saddened by this ugly development and no longer consider it save to continue working in the face of glaring threats to our lives.”

“Our lives are very important to our families who spent so much to bring us to where we are today and so even if the patients we lay down our lives to save do not want us to live and do not value us, it will be stupidity on our path to remain calm and allow them achieve their evil plans.

“We have been in meetings with the Management of AE-FUTHA with the aim of providing a lasting solution to this problem. The assailant was arrested and will be charged to court to serve as deterrent to others. Other things to be done to improve security for doctors and other health workers in AE-FUTHA have been outlined and Management has shown willingness and sincerity of purpose in getting these things done. As soon as these things are done and we consider it safe to return to work, we will gladly do so.

“It is very unfortunate and sad that at this time when Corona virus has become a global challenge and health workers are doing their best to ensure the protection of the lives of citizens, we are forced to withdraw our services because our own lives are threatened by the very ones we lay down our lives for.

“The public should know that doctors are trained to save lives and as human we can only do our best in caring for our patients. We are not God and so when a patient is brought in a moribund state and we do our best to save the patient and it fails, the relative should not think that the way to show their love for the one they lost is to attack the doctors and health workers that cared.

“We understand that many people who appreciate the efforts of doctors and other health care providers in Ebonyi state and beyond may be affected by this action. We however appeal to them to understand the situation we found ourselves in and give us the necessary support to overcome this challenge”, Dr Osuagwu explained.


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