Concerns as hospitals in Abuja reject patients over COVID-19 fears

Concerns as hospitals in Abuja reject patients over COVID-19 fears

- Hospitals in the FCT have started rejecting patients over fear of the coronavirus pandemic

- An official of the FCT administration, Francis Alu, explained why patients are being rejected by the hospitals

- Meanwhile, health minister Ehanire said doctors who reject patients will be reported and if found guilty would have their licenses withdrawn

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A worrying trend has surfaced in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as hospitals in the city are rejecting patients over the fear of the coronavirus pandemic.

A report by Premium Times detailed the complaints of many residents of the city who have been rejected by hospitals over Covid-19 fears.

According to the report, Simon Agagwu, a 70-year-old man suffering from breathing complications, died on Sunday, June 28, after he was reportedly rejected by at least three public hospitals.

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The deceased's family said he had battled strokes for almost 16 years and was also hypertensive. gathers that Agagwu received treatment at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja, Kogi state until the facility was closed down due to Covid-19 fears.

He was then moved to Abuja to resume treatment on the advice of his doctors. After being rejected by three hospitals, Agagwu was accepted by the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Jabi but he was also not given treatment immediately.

“It was not until my uncle called the CMD of the FMC in Jabi that my father was admitted but he gave up the ghost two days after his body touched the sickbed,” Solomon Agagwu, the deceased's son, said.

Premium Times notes that cases of hospitals rejecting patients in the city have become rampant. According to the newspaper, at least 10 Abuja residents interviewed complained of either being rejected or knew of someone who was refused treatment at one point or another during this Covid-19 pandemic.

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In May, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria has recorded more deaths from hospitals’ refusal to attend to patients with other illnesses than from the Covid-19 virus.

Following Mustapha's statement, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire told the medical facilities in the country to stop rejecting patients, especially emergency cases.

Ehanire noted that it is unethical not to attend to persons in distress.

Abuja hospitals reject patients over Covid-19 fears
Abuja hospitals reject patients over Covid-19 fears. Photo Credit: NCDC
Source: Twitter

As the situation continues despite the minister's appeal, he subsequently threatened to withdraw licenses of medical doctors who deliberately reject and turn back patients from their hospital without attending to them or offering necessary advice on what to do.

Ehanire, on Thursday, June 11, said doctors who engage in such unprofessional conduct would be reported to the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, and if found guilty would have their licenses withdrawn.

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Reacting to the development, an official of the FCT administration, Francis Alu, explained why facilities reject patients.

He said caregivers are afraid of risking their own lives too.

“Many of the staff have contracted the disease in the course of attending to patients,” Alu, the director of clinical and diagnostic services at the FCTA, said.

“You are also aware that two of our major hospitals (Asokoro District Hospital and Karu General Hospital) have been converted to isolation/treatment centres. This implies that all the patients who were assessing care in these hospitals would have to do so in the other hospitals.

“So there is a lot of pressure and competition for spaces in these hospitals that were always overcrowded even before Covid-19.”

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