A 40-year-old man, Mr Alagbu Nwachukwu Chuks, has accused medical doctors at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital UNTH, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu state, of killing his wife for the fear of been contracting the dreaded Coronavirus.
The man who cried profusely over the death of his wife with four children behind, explain to our Correspondent that; “my wife, late Mrs Nkiru Alagbu, was a 35-year-old woman who developed cardiovascular disorder shortly after her last child more than a year ago.
“Her medical condition had been waxing and waning, especially after every treatment.“In January 2020, my wife developed the following symptoms: fever, breathlessness, chest pain, morbid weakness, and excessive sweating and loss of appetite.
Her illness made my lovely wife visit so many hospitals until Tuesday (14th April 2020) when she had to be referred to a diagnostic Clinic in Enugu for some investigations.“Right there, the good-spirited Consultant in that Clinic promptly referred her to a cardiologist for immediate attention when he noticed her major health challenge was cardiovascular disease”.
Continuing, Alagbu said “this action heralded our travails. For the avoidance of doubt, my wife and I had not traveled outside Enugu and Anambra States in the last five years. We had never come in contact with anyone diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, by the period we got to the private hospital in Enugu in the morning on 15-04-2020, we were directed to Enugu State University Teaching Hospital Parklane GRA, Enugu. At ESUTH Parklane, they informed us their hospital did not have a functional Trolley or wheelchair to wheel my wife to the ward and that the hospital wards were full without empty beds.“In frustration, I immediately took her to UNTH, Ituku/Ozalla.
That was where the worst happened. A doctor came and from a prescribe social distance asked some few questions. Quickly, he concluded that, it was a case of COVID-19. Immediately myself, my brother’s wife and a family friend who offered to accompany us to the hospital started crying because none of the medical personnel on duty in the hospital Emergency cared to assist after my late wife was tagged a COVID-19 case.
At this time my wife whispered to my ear, that I should not allow her die. I saw my wife in pain and she keep telling me that she would not die. I cried my eyes out when i learnt that the consultant cardiologist called UNTH, informing them to admit my wife for him. That he was coming to take over her treatment, but they ignored him, saying my wife was a Coronavirus patient.
“Within a short while, after the doctor made that COVID-19 proclamation, all the medical personnel disappeared. No one bothered to come close to her while she was lying in the car helpless. And after waiting for more than 30 minutes, I saw my brother’s wife ( A Consultant’ wife) crying uncontrollably, and handing her phone to a doctor so that the husband could explain the health situation of my wife to him.
“My brother later informed me what the doctor said. He said that they had started making efforts to contact the COVID-19 medical team that would handle the case of my wife.“He told me that the doctor he spoke with on the phone was so rude and that that UNTH doctor started accusing him of threatening him after informing him that he had to make efforts to sustain the sick alive while they make their efforts at confirming or ruling out the COVID-19.
“All attempts made by my brother to convince them that my wife was not a COVID-19 case proved abortive”, Alagbu added.
He continued: “I have never felt so incapacitated like this since I was born some 40 years ago. I saw my wife die like a foul in a hospital, and the doctors turned their backs at her and worked away without pity or compassion, he wept.
“They allowed my wife to die unattended to, all in the name of fear of COVID-19. Medical doctors watched my wife die like a soulless being. I thought it was a local movie playing when I could not get help from the Government Hospital, simply because the doctors felt my wife had COVID-19 symptom.
“I knew the worst could have happened. But, I kept calm. To my most considerable chagrin, it took the person of the Chief Medical Director of the hospital to attend to her personally and certify her dead after the sick had been in the hospital for hours without the desired attention.
“It is a sad history in my whole life watching the mother of my children died like a fowl. The hospital could not open a folder or card. She came to the hospital, died after about three hours while in a car”.
At that point, Nkiru’s body was taken away from UNTH Enugu to a private mortuary.
While calling on Enugu state governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), to urgently intervened on the matter, Mr. Alagbu, asked If indeed the case was a COVID-19 case, “how come there were no efforts put in place for sample collection even after death, what measures did the hospital put in place to safeguard the mortuary staff?, Why did it take the hospital hours to wear their PPE and attend to the patient? What is the hope of ordinary men in our Nigeria hospital today?
How come the whole fear of COVID-19 disappeared as soon as the patient died? I am heart-wrecked because my wife died leaving behind four children, the eldest is 11 year old.“This wicked doctors watched my wife die like a fowl for a purported fear of COVID-19”, he cried via telephone.When contacted on the allegation the chairman UNTH, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr. Valentine Ogwu, he said he was in a meeting and promised to called back which he never did after several calls and text messages.