The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) on Friday began a five-day strike to protest the beating of a doctor by relatives of a deceased patient on Wednesday.
The hospital management had seized the corpse and arrested one of the victim’s sons, Mustapha Saliu, for allegedly partaking in the beating of the doctor.
The doctors, who sang solidarity songs while the protest lasted, also carried placards with inscriptions such as “ARD says no to violence”, “health workers lives matter” and “protect us as we protect you”.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, the President of ARD-UITH, Dr Mubaraq Ijaiya, said the strike was “total”, adding that doctors demanded the presence of armed security personnel at all emergency points within the hospital for the safety of their lives.
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He said, “This is one of several episodes of physical assault on members this year with no culprit prosecuted to a logical conclusion and several other assaults that have occurred on health care workers in the last few months within the hospital”.
Speaking on the Wednesday incident, Ijaiya said the patient was a known individual in the facility being managed for a terminal illness.
“He was rushed to the emergency unit of the hospital on December 27th at about 7:00am. He was promptly attended to and admitted for emergency management by the medical team on emergency duty.
“The necessary management plan was prescribed including some required investigations and his primary managing team was notified through a written consult and phone call, ” he said.
Ijaiya explained further that contrary to information making the rounds, the patient was alive and was just stabilized by the same doctor when the relatives assaulted him.
He added that “unfortunately despite the best efforts of the managing team, the patient passed away in the early hours of Thursday”.
He however consoled the family on the loss.
He recommended the immediate provision of posters and banners all round the hospital to discourage any form of assault on healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, Mrs Elizabeth Ajiboye, the Head Corporate Affairs Unit of UITH, frowned at avoidable frictions between relatives and healthcare givers.
She stated that the management would do all that is necessary including legal redress to solve the problem.
According to her, such incidents of attacks in the past led to serious injuries on healthcare givers and that the hospital Management would no longer tolerate any of such harassments and assaults from patients’ relatives and friends.
She said the management had reviewed the matter and magnanimously release the corpse to the relatives for burial.
“However, further investigations and possible prosecution of the arrested persons linked with the doctor’s assault would continue to its logical end,” she added.