Home News Protest as faulty elevator kills doctor in Lagos hospital

Protest as faulty elevator kills doctor in Lagos hospital

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Guardian.ng

It was a shattered dream for Edo-born medical doctor, Dr Vwaere Diaso, who died on Tuesday at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island, after an elevator she took crashed.

The doctor, who was inducted last year, after a six-year sojourn at Babcock University, had high hopes and expectations.

However, her hope for a flourishing medical career and expectations to use her medical skills to benefit the community and society at large were dashed following the unfortunate incident.

Before her death, it was learnt that she had less than two weeks to round off her internship.

It was claimed that a dispatch rider, who brought the food she ordered online, called her on the phone to let her know that he was around, and while using the faulty elevator, the crane fell from the 10th floor, where she was, to the ground with a loud thud that shook the foundation of the hospital. She was later found in the ruins, and badly injured.

Before Dr Diaso joined the hospital as a student doctor, resident doctors and staff of the hospital had reported that the elevator had been in bad condition since 2011, coupled with other infrastructural challenges in the hospital.

The Guardian learnt that the elevator was so bad that it stopped at intervals, and users had to manually close it to continue their journey.

Daiso’s colleague, who pleaded anonymity, said: “On multiple occasions, the elevator had stopped while we were inside. And there was no maintenance. We reported every time it happened. The elevator is supposed to carry 630kg maximum – that is eight people.

“Once you open the elevator and see two people already, you just have to wait for the next batch. It was faulty and they knew about it. That’s why we’re not going to take this,” he stated.

Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Gboyega Akosile, and the Director Public Affairs, Ministry of Health, Olatunbosun Ogunbanwo, said that the state government was investigating the root cause of the incident.

Akosile said the governor directed that a thorough investigation be conducted and that any officer of the state found culpable would not be spared.

A friend to the late doctor, Dr Joy Aifuobhokhan, described her as the brightest, selfless and happiest she ever met during her medical school year.

Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, Dr Aifuobhokhan, who was her classmate in medical school, said: “She was my friend. We met at the medical school and worked together as well.

“I worked there from 2021 to 2022, and we complained bitterly about the elevator. I was once stuck in the elevator and I was lucky to be rescued. Almost all the doctors have been stuck in the elevator.

“Medical doctors have been complaining about it since 2011. Not only that, power was only restored there for two hours; no water and people had to climb to get water and when we complained to them, they told us that they didn’t have doctors’ quarters during their time and we shouldn’t be complaining.”

When asked if a complaint has been made to the authority, she said: “We are under the Health Service Commission of Lagos State and we have written several letters to them and they only come around and conduct repairs, but the elevator will become faulty the second day and we will go back to zero. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is aware of the situation, the Medical Guild is also aware but nothing has been done about it.”

Describing the deceased, she said: “She was the brightest among us; she was always happy and smiling. While everyone was complaining, Diaso would be smiling and would always go back to attend to patients. Dr. Diaso was like the best among us. She shouldn’t be the one paying the price for negligence.

“We spoke on how she would start working where I am working now and she was looking forward to starting her house job with us.”

Meanwhile, Lagos State Chapter of NMA, yesterday, asked doctors in the three government hospitals on the Island – General Hospital Lagos, Lagos Island Maternity Hospital and Massey Street Children Hospital – to commence indefinite strike till justice is served.

Lagos State NMA Chairman, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, and his Secretary, Dr Ismail Ajibowo, in a statement, said the association also declared a five-day statewide mourning period over the death of Diaso, from injuries sustained after being trapped in an elevator at the Lagos General Hospital for more than 40 minutes.

NMA described her death as avoidable, demanding an immediate, unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident. The body demanded that all the persons found culpable in the accident, especially the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency (LASIAMA), Ms. Adenike Adekambi, must be brought to Justice.

Also, Lagos State government has set up an inquiry into the death of the doctor.

The state, in a statement, expressed shock at the news of the death of Dr. Diaso.

It said: “The state government, especially management and staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, commiserate with the family of the deceased on the unfortunate loss of their daughter, who passed on as a result of the mechanical failure of an elevator at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island.

“An inquiry by a team of officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Lagos State Safety Commission and certified Lift and Vertical Transportation Equipment experts has commenced.

“Lagos State Government will ensure that anyone found negligent by the report of the inquiry will face appropriate sanctions.”

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