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‘Osun food contamination sparked ‘strange illness’ scare’

Affiliated to Adventist Health International, it is situated along Lagere Road, Ile-Ife, and has been rendering surgical service, including orthopaedics to patients. But little is…

Affiliated to Adventist Health International, it is situated along Lagere Road, Ile-Ife, and has been rendering surgical service, including orthopaedics to patients. But little is known of this mission hospital taking care of victims of road accidents, carrying out hernia repairs, appendectomies, typhoid perforations and other services over the years. Then the hospital became the talk-of-town last week when five of its medical staff fell ill after carrying out a surgical operation on a patient.
The surgical team, comprising of five people, including doctors and nurses, became ill few hour after carrying out the surgery. Meanwhile, the patients operated upon had recovered and were recuperating while the medical personnel were admitted. As a result of the development, other patients became apprehensive, aided by speculations that the hospital was under ‘demonic attack’. Others believed that there was outbreak of a ‘strange illness’ in the hospital while some blamed Ebola.
Within the confusion, the case of one of the affected nurses, Tambaya John Amu, became complicated while others were responding to treatment. Hailing from Jos, Plateau State, the experienced nurse is said to be a hardworking staff of the hospital. The management of the hospital battled to save his life and he was rushed to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) when doctors at Seventh Day Adventist Hospital realised that they would not be able to manage his case. He died at OAUTH.
The Public Relations Officer of OAUTH, Shakin Oladeji, told Weekly Trust that the insinuation that the nurse died of Ebola was not true, even as he explained that he has not been briefed on the cause of death of Tambaya. He urged members of the public to discountenance the insinuation that a strange ailment hit the community. “It was true that the nurse was brought to OAUTH for treatment but unfortunately he could not make it. It is clear that it has nothing to do with Ebola as being speculated,” he added.   
Chief Medical Director of Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Dr. Akintomiwa Obisanya, also debunked insinuations of a ‘strange ailment’ or ‘demonic attack’, explaining that the surgical team had a meal after carrying out several surgical operations without knowing that the food had been contaminated. “Mr. Tambaya died as a result of food contamination following the meal, which he took along with other members of a surgical. All the members of the team who ate from the food were infected and they were all admitted and treated here in our hospital but Tambaya did not take the drugs that we gave the four others as he said his body would react to that particular drug.”
Dr. Obisanya added that after the excuse of the side effects of the drug, Tambaya did not take the medication. “We gave him another drug that was stronger than the one he rejected. Unfortunately, his case became worse and we took him to the teaching hospital. We felt that we would have access to certain equipment at OAUTH, but efforts to save him weren’t successful and he died,” he said.
Dr. Obisanya said the other affected medical personnel are receiving treatment and are responding well. He displayed the result of the autopsy conducted on the late Tambaya and explained that it was not Ebola. He expressed sadness at the speculations being bandied about, refusing the hospital the chance to mourn the departed, diligent nurse.
Dr. Obisanya told Weekly Trust that the affected theatre has been fumigated and is now clean. Efforts to speak with the remaining four victims were fruitless, while medical staff at OAUTH maintained that only the public relations officer could speak to the press.

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