NMA Declares Indefinite Strike Over Doctor’s Tragic Death
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday directed doctors working in three hospitals, General Hospital Lagos, Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, and Massey Street Children Hospital, to commence an indefinite strike action.
This followed the tragic death of their colleague, Dr Diaso Vwaere, a medical house officer, from injuries sustained when a faulty elevator crashed at the hospital.
The occurrence which is generating buzz and conversation around the handling of medical practitioners, happened at the Lagos General Hospital on Tuesday night. The deceased was reportedly trapped for more than 40 minutes.
The medical doctors described her death as avoidable and demanded an immediate, unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.
In a press statement jointly signed by the State Chairman, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, and Secretary, Dr Ismail Ajibowo, the doctors also declared a five-day statewide mourning period.
They commensurated with the family of the deceased and called for the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Ms Adenike Adekambi, to be prosecuted.
“NMA Lagos State received with rude shock the death of one of our members, Dr Diaso Vwaere, a medical house officer, whose death occurred as a result of injuries sustained when the elevator she was in crashed.
“This is heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, and quite unfortunate. We commiserate with her immediate family, her colleagues on the island, the Medical Guild, and all body of doctors in Lagos State. Information we got was that she was trapped in the elevator for more than 40mins before she was rescued.
“We were also reliably informed that there was no blood available for resuscitation, and this has become a recurring issue as a result of the review made by the government on the previous policy on blood donation. To us, this was an avoidable death, and, unfortunately, it was allowed to happen. We are pained, and we are mourning.
“We are well aware that this same elevator has been a source of problem for many years, during which several complaints have been made to all relevant agencies with no respite.
“It is very painful that when the country is battling unprecedented brain drain, a young colleague that would have been expected to attend to 6000 Nigerians was allowed to die a needless death.
“As a result of this, we declare a 5-day statewide mourning period; we demand an immediate, unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident; that all those found culpable in this matter, especially the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Ms Adenike Adekambi, are all brought to Justice.
“We direct all our doctors in the three government hospitals on the island (GH Lagos, LIMH, and MSCH) to commence indefinite strike action until the investigations are completed and justice served.
“We immediately direct our doctors in all the other government hospitals to scale down activities as a mark of respect for our dead colleague. Only emergency services should be rendered for the next 5 days; the government should, as a matter of urgency, commence the complete overhaul of the house officers’ quarters on the island; all other infrastructures in all our government hospitals that need repairs should be urgently attended to that the blood transfusion system in Lagos State needs immediate revamping for improved services.
“As a result of this sad incident, the State Officers Committee of the Nigerian Medical Association Lagos State has decided that the upcoming Annual General Meeting will be a low-key event as a mark of respect to our colleague.
“We appeal to our colleagues to remain calm as NMA Lagos State leadership is on top of the situation and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is not just served but seen to have been served.
“We pray for the repose of the soul of our dead colleague, and may God give us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable and unfortunate loss,” the statement read.
House officers in the hospital have also protested to raise awareness of the issues. Across social media, many medical personnel have started sharing their experiences with the elevator and circumstances that claimed the life of their deceased colleague.