When Sandra David, a 29-year-old staff of the Bank of Agriculture, was diagnosed with gall bladder complications requiring surgical correction, she asked for only a few days off work and headed for the Federal Staff Hospital, (FSH) Abuja.
The facility was established by the federal government primarily for the care of its public servants, but also other residents of the Nigerian capital.
“We all expected the treatment and recuperation to take a short period and that she would return to work very quickly”, recalled late Ms. David’s sister, Sophia.
“But days ran into weeks and she was still at the hospital. Rather than telling us the truth about her situation, they waited and waited for my sister to die,” said Sophia, in a telephone interview with Premium times.
Premium times obtained the results of medical tests conducted on Ms. David the first day she walked into the hospital. It showed that she had Cholelithiasis.
The condition entails presence of gallstones in the gall bladder, and multiple uterine fibroid, which refers to non-cancerous growths in the muscular wall of the uterus.
According to medical experts, the treatment of gall stones depends on the stage of the problem when reported; while multiple uterine fibroid had the tendency of causing the patient to develop swollen stomach.
As also indicated by the medical reports obtained from the FSH, Ms. David was expected to stay at the hospital for four days after surgery, before returning home to continue recuperation.
But trouble began after the surgery when Ms. David reported pains in her stomach.
“After the surgery, she was complaining of stomach pains but they said it would be fine,” said Sophia.
“Three days after the surgery, they asked us to go home, that everything was okay. A few days later, she complained (again) of pains but they said she should not worry, that she would get better.”
According to Sophia, her sister’s pain persisted, however, and her stomach grew in size as if she was pregnant. So five days after the complaint, they returned to the hospital and Ms. David was rushed back to the theatre.
“They told us this time that my sister was retaining water and that she lacked protein in her body”, said Sophia.
It was later found that the patient was retaining bile. Her body was opened up again to remove the ‘accumulated water’ and to transmit fluids of protein into her.
But in the process, her sister alleged, the surgeons punctured her lungs, resulting in another complication that caused Ms. David to pass out temporarily.
“Immediately they came in and resuscitated her; but in that process they bruised her lungs, so she had blood clot on the lungs”, explained Sophia.
Ms. David’s treatment at the FSH had by then lasted over three months.
“They told us that the hospital staff was on strike and that we should go home. They didn’t even suggest that we take her to another hospital.
“We had to ask for a referral, which they reluctantly gave. But they failed to state the actual condition she was in before leaving the hospital.
“They just said she had a bile leakage. They did not state that they had punctured her lungs and that she had blood clot around her lungs. Such things were not stated,” the sister of the deceased recalled.
Sophia said her family only got the true picture of Ms. David’s grave condition when they arrived the Nizamiye Hospital, the Nigerian-Turkish medical facility in Abuja.
“When we arrived at the Nizamiye Hospital; they told us that she had only about 30 per cent chance of survival; that she would have to undergo several surgical operations which would cost N6 million to N8 million.”
The family managed to get over half the needed money from after an appeal for help was made to the public through the social media.
But the surgery came too late to save Ms. David’s life.
For several weeks at the hospital, she battled seizure of breath, memory loss and other severe complications at Nizamiye Hospital.
Source: The Premium Times