Nigeria: Faulty Elevator – Lagos Governor Orders Probe Into Doctor’s Death, As NMA Declares Strike

Mr Sanwo-Olu, in a reaction shared on his microblogging site, “X,” described the unfortunate incident as distressing.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has ordered an investigation into the death of Vwaere Diaso, a medical doctor who died as a result of a faulty elevator at the state’s General Hospital, Odan.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier on Wednesday reported the death of Ms Diaso, who was on a one-year internship at the general hospital and had only about two weeks to complete her programme.

This is as the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella body for the medical doctors in the country, has directed its members across three hospitals in the state to commence an indefinite strike action.

Also, in Cross River State, South-south Nigeria, medical doctors had on Tuesday embarked on a protest walk to the state’s House of Assembly over an alleged abduction of one of them, Ekanem Ephraim.

Sanwo-Olu orders probe

Mr Sanwo-Olu, in a reaction shared on his microblogging site, “X,” described the unfortunate incident of the medical officer’s death as distressing.

He wrote: “In light of this tragedy, I have taken immediate action to initiate a thorough investigation into the cause of the mechanical failure. It is my sincere commitment that this investigation will be conducted with utmost transparency and fairness, leaving no room for any biases or favouritism.”

Mr Sanwo-Olu also commiserated with the NMA and the family of the deceased.

He said: “I was deeply saddened to hear about the tragic loss of Vwaere Diaso, a dedicated medical professional whose life was taken due to a mechanical failure within the elevator at the Doctor’s quarters of the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island.

“It is distressing to think that such a promising young doctor had her life cut short in such a devastating manner. As a parent myself, I cannot help but feel the pain and sorrow that Dr. Diaso’s loved ones must be experiencing during this difficult time.

“My heart goes out to her parents, family members, friends, and colleagues who are grieving this profound loss.

“Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this heartbreaking incident. May Dr Vwaere Diaso’s soul rest in eternal peace.”

Doctors’ strike

Meanwhile, the doctors’ association on Wednesday via a statement jointly signed by its Chairman and Secretary in the state, Benjamin Olowojebutu, and Ajibowo Ismail, directed its members across three hospitals in the state to embark on strike action.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NMA listed the affected hospitals as the General Hospital, Odan; Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, and Massey Street Children’s Hospital, also located on Lagos Island.

The association directed that the strike should continue until investigation into the cause of the death were completed and justice served.

The statement according to NAN reads in part: “The information we got was that she was trapped in the elevator for more than 40 minutes before she was rescued.

“We were also reliably informed that there was no blood available for resuscitation, and this has become a recurring issue as a result of the review made by the government on the previous policy on blood donation.

“To us, this was an avoidable death and it’s unfortunate that it was allowed to happen. We are pained and we are mourning.”

The statement further noted that the association was “well aware that this same elevator has been a source of problem for many years during which several complaints had been made to all relevant agencies with no respite.”

“It is very painful that at a time when the country is battling with unprecedented brain drain, a young colleague that would have been expected to attend to 6,000 Nigerians was allowed to die a needless death,” the association said.

NMA, therefore, called for an “immediate, unbiased investigation” into the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.

“That all those found culpable in this matter, especially the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Ms Adenike Adekambi, are all brought to justice,” the statement added.

NMA also directed all the doctors in other government hospitals in the state to scale down activities as a mark of respect for the late colleague.

“Only emergency services should be rendered for the next five days,” it said.

The association appealed to the government to urgently begin an overhaul of the house officers’ quarters on the Island and repair the infrastructure in all government hospitals that needed attention.

NMA also urged the government to revamp the blood transfusion system in the state for improved services.

“We appeal to our colleagues to remain calm, as NMA Lagos State leadership is on top of the situation and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is not just served but seen to have been served,” the association said.

It commiserated with the family of the late doctor, her colleagues on the Island, the Medical Guild, and the body of doctors in the state, while praying for the fortitude to bear what it described as the “irreparable and unfortunate loss.”

Protest in Cross River

Meanwhile, in Calabar, Cross River State, members of the state’s chapter of NMA on Tuesday marched to the state’s House of Assembly in a peaceful protest against the kidnap of a member, Ekanem Ephraim.

The doctors, who came out in their numbers, wielded placards with inscriptions such as “Set Cross River Free From The Stranglehold of Kidnappers”, “Make Cross River Safe Again.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Mr Ephraim was abducted from her residence on Thursday, 13 July by armed men who were said to have disguised as patients.