How a mother of four, Nkiru Alagbu was abandoned to die at UNTH over Coronavirus scare

Just a month after a 70-year-old patient died unattended over the scare of Coronavirus at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), another 35-year-old mother of four, Mrs. Nkiru Alagbu, has reportedly met her untimely death in a similar circumstance.

The husband to the deceased, Mr. Nwachukwu Alagbu said his wife died due to negligence by the doctors at UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu state. The distraught man who was overtaken by grief took to social media to share his story.

"My wife, late Mrs. Nkiru Alagbu, was a 35-year-old woman who developed cardiovascular disorder shortly after her last child more than a year ago," he wrote. "Her medical condition had been waxing and waning, especially after every treatment."

The attendant symptom of the disease, Mr. Nwachukwu revealed was similar to that of COVID-19: "fever, breathlessness, chest pain, morbid weakness, and excessive sweating and loss of appetite".

"Her illness made my lovely wife visit so many hospitals until Tuesday (14th April 2020) when she had to be referred to a diagnostic Clinic in Enugu for some investigations," he explained.

"Right there, the good-spirited Consultant in that Clinic promptly referred her to a cardiologist for immediate attention when he noticed her major health challenge was cardiovascular disease."

After an attempt to get the woman treated at a private hospital failed, they were directed to Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ESUTH. On arrival, the hospital staff reportedly informed the late patient's family that they had no wheelchair and that there was no vacant bed for her.

"In frustration, I immediately took her to UNTH, Ituku/Ozalla. That was where the worst happened. A doctor came and from a prescribe social distance asked some few questions," Mr Nwachukwu recollects.

"Quickly, he concluded that, it was a case of COVID-19. Immediately myself, my brother's wife and a family friend who offered to accompany us to the hospital started crying because none of the medical personnel on duty in the hospital Emergency cared to assist after my late wife was tagged a COVID-19 case.

"At this time my wife whispered to my ear, that I should not allow her die. I saw my wife in pain and she keep telling me that she would not die."

Mr. Alagbu put a call across to the doctor who made the referral and his attempt to persuade his colleague to admit the woman proved abortive.

All the while, the woman was abandoned in the car. After three hours of waiting for succour, the poor woman whose children were waiting for her return passed away in the back of the car.

Her death caused a row in the hospital as her husband went livid with emotion.

Many people, including a human rights organization, Jonnymanpush are subsequently pushing for some explanation and responsibility on the incident.

According to Mr Alagbu, the hospital management has reached out to him and the meeting between the two parties which was meant to hold on Tuesday was rescheduled to Thursday (today).

The sad incident is one of many tragedies that have come out of the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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