A 70-year old patient, Isiayaku Ibrahim, a resident of Tumuru, a remote village in Alkaleri Local Government of Bauchi State is a patient battling with a protracted pile complication who also had hernia surgery.
He and his family shared their experience on the difficulties they faced while seeking for treatment as a result of the measures taken by the Bauchi State Specialist Hospital because of COVID-19.
Daily Trust reports that Ibrahim who had hernia surgery at Bauchi Specialist Hospital on March 21, 2020, was prematurely discharged four days after the surgery.
He was asked to go home and return after five days, a situation that compounded his health condition.
As a result, Ibrahim was compelled to seek the assistance of a good Samaritan who gave him a temporary shelter at his veranda in Bauchi where he had to contend with wind, rain and other hazards like mosquitoes and other insects.
The place offered by the spirited individual served as “accommodation” for Mohammed where he continued dressing his wounds while waiting for the next appointment date in the hospital.
Ibrahim spent over three weeks at the Good Samaritan’s veranda with his elderly wife and a nephew who were taking care of him.
However, during a fact-finding mission by this reporter at the specialist hospital, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Yau Hameed Suleiman, said he directed for the readmission of the patient considering his condition.
Patient shares experience
Speaking with Daily Trust on his predicament, Ibrahim said: “I pleaded with the medical doctor and some of the staff attending to me to give me more time before being discharged to recover, because of the long distance from my village to the hospital but to no avail. I then begged one of the nurses to help find a room or any place I can stay for a week or more before the returning date.
“The nurse later took me to his friend’s house behind the Zubairu Madaki Mosque and explained my condition. Fortunately, the man accepted the plea but said if I could use the veranda because there was no room available to accommodate me.
“I am not supposed to be here for the treatment because this is somebody’s house whom I never met before, but I have no option. I must bear the condition because I don’t have any alternative,” he narrated.
Speaking on his health challenges Ibrahim said: “I initially had a growth inside my anus, which many said was pile and when I came to hospital, they gave me some drugs to insert and after some days, the growth burst leading to loss of blood. A few days after, my testicles got swollen which forced me to return to the hospital and the doctor said I must undergo surgery the next day.
“What really pains me most is that despite having the money and willing to pay for my medical care, I was discharged and asked to go home with fresh wounds, blood, and pus from my testicles and anus.”
Ibrahim explained that the hospital management tactically discharged him on the pretext that there was an order to discharge all patients at the medical ward.
Buba Ibrahim, a nephew of the patient, told Daily Trust that the experience of managing a patient especially elderly people is difficult.
“Looking at his condition, I was left in shock and grief when we were discharged from the hospital. He was very weak and pale because of the operations.
“Two days after the discharge, the area around the surgery got swollen. He started vomiting and was losing much blood. I rushed back to the hospital but nobody was available at the medical ward as it was weekend. I returned the next day and still met no one to attend to our plight. Later, I reported the issue of his condition to the doctor and he asked me to go and bring him immediately. They took him into the consultation room, dressed the wounds and prescribed other drugs,” he said.
Checks at the hospital revealed that the management had directed the shutdown of the male medical ward following an emergency meeting of public health on ‘Emergency COVID-19’ which was held on March 25.
A resolution from the meeting reads: “This is to inform all staff of Bauchi Specialist Hospital that following an emergency meeting held with stakeholders concerning the outbreak cases of Lassa fever and coronavirus, the following decisions are hereby taken by management directing everybody to comply as follows, “The Male Medical Ward has been converted to a holding room.
“The Female Surgical Ward is divided into two sides, one side for male medical while the other side for women Surgical. There must be a screening of patients going into the GOPD. The long appointment of stable patients is within 3-6 months. To minimise in-patient admission, maximum of one patient’s relation would be allowed per patient to stay in the hospital. Visit to patients on admission has been suspended except those responsible to bring food, drugs and other logistics to the patient.”
When contacted, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Aliyu Muhammed Maigoro, said that the ministry directed that only patients on emergency should be attended to while patients with mild illnesses should go to smaller hospitals where arrangements were made by the government to provide medical services.
“Because part of the Specialist Hospital was reserved so that if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds 200, it will be used as holding room for the coronavirus patients.
“I have seen the patient and the doctor that discharged him from the hospital, but the directives are that emergency cases will be treated and mild illnesses should go to smaller hospitals. Right now in Bauchi, we shut down the Bayara General Hospital with a 130-bed capacity and another 120-bed at Abubakar Tafawa Teaching Hospital as the isolation centres. We have not come to the specialist hospital yet until when the two centres are filed,” he said.
How CMD came to the rescue
Last weekend, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Bauchi Specialist Hospital, Dr. Yau Hameed Suleiman, ordered the readmission of Ibrahim.
Suleiman who gave the directives after our correspondent narrated the condition and scenario that led to the predicament of the patient, said that the management of the hospital decided to decongest the facility for public safety and that of the health workers.
“The management only discharged patients with cases that were not life-threatening and the decision was taken for overriding reasons for public safety and the safety of the health workers who will take care of the sick when they come.
“If we allow overcrowding in the hospital and health workers become infected with COVID-19, who would attend to the sick ones? By the time 10 nurses or so get infected who will do the work? He asked.
He directed the consultant in charge of the medical ward to readmit the patient and asked his relations to go and bring him back to the hospital for the continuation of the treatment since they could not afford the home management of the wounds.
“Our wards are designed like small rooms and we announced that only one person per patient would be accepted but they will never comply. The only thing you do is to decongest the ward, because there was time I visited the hospital at 1 am and in a single ward, I met about 15 people with three or more relatives per patient. They endanger themselves and the health workers,” he said.