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EXCLUSIVE: DEATH OF CHRISTOPHER OJIKA – HOW FIRST RIVERS HOSPITAL HANDLED LATE VICTIM

COMMENTARY NEWS TALES OF LIFE 1451

I as moved when I saw the Facebook post of one Marshal Obuzor titled ‘How Did Christopher

Late Christopher Ojika
Die’. On telling the story, the writer rested the blame on First Rivers Hospital where the patient was taken to in one of his last journey on earth.
I am a Port Harcourt boy and had lived around First Rivers hospital and have been there with a friend. During my stay there as a blogger I was known to take up such cases as an investigative blogger. I wanted to make a trip to Port Harcourt but I have a ministry programme I would be traveling for so I decided to make frantic effort and research to get to talk to all those involved or who had contact with the victim.

THOSE I SPOKE TO
My first contact was with the author of the story himself, Marshal Obuzor but more than 4 days after he is yet to respond to my message sent to him on Facebook but has been responding to persons not responding the way he desires.
I had contacted the brothers of the victim. The first directed me to a second Kenechi Ojika and we spoke and then I requested to have the contact of one of the eye witnesses he said he communicated with but it’s about four days now and I keep texting and speaking with him and I still don’t get the contact of the so-called eye witness.
I contacted the hospital and spoke with the Chief medical Director, Dr. Olusola Olanrewaju and apart from phone conversations, I received an email response to a written statement so I could go through and analyze from. I also got a response from the Medical Doctor who received and attended to the late victim.
A medical doctor who also was at the University of Port Harcourt teaching Hospital, UPTH, gave an account of the story as it relates to the victim’s movement around the city and his final ours at UPTH.
HOW LATE CHRISTOPHER WAS ATTACKED BY ROBBERS
On Saturday, the 28th of October, late Christopher, a graduate from the University of Benin had left his pregnant wife at home to repair his car. He had visited an ATM for withdraw where he was attacked by armed robbers who gave him some gun shots.
Chris was picked up by a good Samaritan or Samaritans. According to the story they told at the UPTH, they had taken him to Ebony Clinic and then Pamo Clinic but he was rejected. The victim then told them to take him to First Rivers Hospital where he had a retainership with his company.
He was taken into the Emergency room and was being examined. The doctor left the nurse to attend to the victim so she could call a surgeon due to the gravity of the situation but before she could return, the late victim had been taken away to Military hospital where he was said to have been given first aid and taken to UPTH. He is said to have spent 3 hours at Military Hospital then 5 hours at UPTH.
It was said that a surgery was going on at the UPTH theartre when he arrived and was not attended to until his death. I was unable to reach the management of UPTH before this report.

WAS FIRST RIVERS THE FIRST CLINIC HE WAS TAKEN TO AND WAS HE REJECTED TREATMENT
Kenechi Ojika insisted his brother was first taken to First Rivers and that when he saw his brother’s corpse and the gunshot at the abdomen and being a health care professional himself, he understood that a clinic that does not have the capacity to handle such a complicated case would not receive the patient but refer such. His only gross with First Rivers Hospital is that they could have administered First Aid on Christopher before referring him to the Military Hospital.
However his account contradicts what Marshal himself said in his report that the late victim was first taken to another clinic before First Rivers. Other sources also confirm that. So it is obvious someone has not told things as it happened to the family and Nigerians
I heard of a story when someone got shot by a stray bullet from a Bullion van some time ago close to First rivers and the hospital sent its personnel to bring him in and surgery was performed without charge so it was hard just to accept that the same clinic would reject someone registered with them although the hospital said they were not aware. Kenechi said he spoke with Christopher while he was at the clinic, he also said Chris was recognized by one of the staff and they spoke, that First Rivers is unaware but even if that would be true, it was clear the persons who brought him and as Kenechi said, his neighbours were called and met him at the hospital, considered the attention too slow and in desperate move to save the life of Chris took him away.

Below is a response to my email from the hospital.

RE: LATE CHRISTOPHER OJIKA:

Thank you for seeking to get our side of the story on the death of the above young man. I am still grieving over the sad loss and my heart goes to his family, friends and colleagues. I cried when I saw his pictures and every medical doctor understands how it feels to lose a patient.
He was brought to First Rivers Hospital in between 4.30pm and 4.50pm on 28th October, 2017 by about 10 people who were good Samaritans.
They met our Emergency Team who responded immediately by moving him to the Emergency Room, did the initial assessment and tried to stop the bleeding from the chest/abdomen by applying firm and effective (primary haemostasis) pressure. The Doctor was overwhelmed when she found that they were two gunshot wounds, one just above the umbilicus and the second bullet on the upper (Rt.) chest.

The Doctor instructed the Nurse to get an Intravenous access. Simultaneously, the Doctor decided to call for back-up assistance from the Consultant Surgeon and the Anaesthetist who could have been available within the hour to carry out the definitive surgery of stopping the bleeding by Laparatomy.

However, within 20 minutes of their arrival, the crowd showed signs of anxiety and impatience and felt that the attention was not adequate enough and decided to take the patient away on their own volition before the return of the attending Doctor. First Rivers Hospital did not send the patient away, infact the attending Doctor said she was surprised when she could not find the patient in ER on her return.
Secondly, the Hospital has a team of 9-10 General Practitioners and 12 Full and Part time consultant in various fields to handle complicated cases as they come. The Consultants might not be on ground all the time, but could be reached. Usually, they are available within the hour to intervene where necessary.
Thirdly, this hospital has a track record of NOT refusing to attend to any patient brought in on Emergency basis (Accident/Gunshot victims). We treat these Emergencies without police report and even when there is no initial deposit payments. Our motto is “Save the life and talk of payment later”. Our staff are known to come out in their numbers to donate blood to patients that are brought without knowing these patients. So it is really strange that we would not now be overzealous in treatment of our own if we are privy to the fact that he is from ANA Industries.

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It is on record that sometime ago, a passerby close to our hospital was hit by a stray bullet and I asked that he be brought into the clinic and we performed surgery on him without cost.

We sincerely believe that if the crowd appreciated that we are ANA Retainers Hospital and that arrangements were being made for back-up, maybe they would not have taken him away. Mr. Ojika’s case worsened on being taken around the city and would have been resuscitated if the time wasted was allowed to be put into proper use at First Rivers Hospital Limited.

In situation where we have to refer our Retainer cases based on advice of the Consultants, we convey such cases to the Teaching Hospital and ensure follow-up.
Once again, I express my condolence to the families especially his young wife whom I am told is expectant. May God grant them the fortitude to bear the loss and I am convinced Christopher is in the bosom of the Lord.

Dr. Olusola Gordons Olanrewaju
Chief Medical Director

DOCTOR ON DUTY SPEAKS
Pertaining to the incident that happened on 28/10/2017 at about 4.30pm, my response is as follows;
1. That’s the patient referred as Mr. Christopher Ojika an ANA industry enrolle which at the time of the incident was not known to me because neither a folder nor a name was mentioned at the time I was called to attend to an emergency patient which was usually the case when emergencies are brought in.
2. I was on afternoon duty on the 28/10/2017 at about 4:30pm when a nurse called me out of the consulting room regarding an emergency. On reaching the emergency room I was quickly briefed by the nurse about the patient’s incident which was a case of a gunshot to the abdomen.
3. I examined the abdomen and noticed he was bleeding from the wound site, I quickly instructed the nurse to apply pressure gauze/gamji on the wound site as this was what could be done at that point except to set a line.
4. As normally practiced in the hospital I quickly decided, given the intensity of the situation, to call to surgeon since the nurse was still getting the items ready to set up an IV line.
5. I rushed out of the emergency room straight to the consulting room in order to retrieve my phone to call the surgeon Dr. OXXX. I called the number severally to no avail as it was saying his number was unreachable. In alternative I tried calling Dr. OXXX but his line was switched off.
6. In the course of making these calls I was making my way back to the emergency room to continue management of the patient but to my rude shock and utmost surprise the patient was nowhere to be found as I got there I immediately asked the nurse where the patient went/was and he replied in his word “they had taken him out to military hospital” he further said that one of the men wearing native attire who brought in the patient said they should leave, he went on to explain that he pleaded with them not to take the patient away as the doctor had gone to call the surgeon but they blatantly refused and left with the patient of their own accord.
7. All these transpired in less than 9 mins from the time I was called to attend to the patient.
8. Finally In my capacity as a doctor that attended to this case as well as all other emergency cases I have handled in this hospital I can authoritatively say there was no negligence on my part as the patient was whisked away from the hospital’s care without any discharge or referral to my knowledge from either me or the hospital. Moreover, reports have it that the patient died about 9hrs after leaving our facility which cannot be compared to 9 minutes of my attending to the patient. If this patient had not been whisked away we would have commenced necessary emergency interventions and his death may have been avoided.
Dr. IXXXXX

CHRISTOPHER DIED BECAUSE HE WAS BORN IN NIGERIA
This a case of another wasted life and the crime? Being born in Nigeria. Many have died in this country simply because they are born here. Our police is the worst in the world and probably healthcare system, our educational system, our government, our everything.
The only thing we live on is that Nigeria has the best policies, best ideas and best brains in the world and that’s just where it stops.
First and foremost Nigeria has been producing leaders and rulers who are not patriotic and are bent on ensuring this country never works. How can you explain with all the resources and money from crude oil, we cannot have even a straight 24 hours supply for even a day.Awhy is nothing working.
We have persons in position of authority engaging in crime against Nigeria, colluding with wicked Nigerians and foreign elements to ensure our system continue to fail so that they can continue importing their generators, clothes, utensils, etc into a larger populated Nigeria to advancing their economy to the detriment of we the helpless.Our health care system have failed us because our government has failed us.
Would you blame private clinics? No. that would be misplaced. They struggle like every private business to survive. They pay electricity bills and so many other taxes, they have to pay salaries and maintain their facilities.
Many big hospitals came into being by means of bank loans and are struggling to breathe on a daily basis and yet our government hospitals that are supposed to do better are even worst. How can you explain the military hospital just giving first aid and sending him to UPTH another federal government hospital? So what happens in situations where our gallant military men risking their lives get terrible shot and wounded in the line of duty? You can now understand what they have been facing and how many must have died just like that.
How can you explain a young man lying in wait for about 5 hours at UPTH, a government owned hospital and still died just like that? You can imagine how many have died in these hospitals.
Our government officials patronize foreign clinics with their family even for malaria. Aso Rock clinic does not have syringe and Panadoltalkless of UPTH. And they want to continue traveling instead of having the equipment here. Unpatriotic and crime against Nigeria.
Majority of the people, who die in Nigeria, die because they are here where nothing works. People die over cheap illnesses. People die because he police is ineffective. How come the culprits are yet to be arrested? Even if the case is not reported, the nearest police station should have been aware and carry out an investigation.
BLAME GAME AND THE ‘BRING THEM DOWN SYMDROME’
Losng a dear one or any human in this circumstance hurts and emotional. However, we must be careful when passing blame. We must have sufficient information at our disposal before we begin to blame.
The social media has becoming a useful tool in the hands of people to bring others down without gathering the fact. We must not bring down others for us to rise. We must not bring down others just because they have gotten to the top. First Rivers Hospital I understand receives 200 to 300 patients on a daily basis on some occasions and I am sure there are many like that.

The federal government ought to partner with such hospitals to provide services.
I do understand there is NHIS but the one I speak of is in providing for those who are victims of accidents and crime. In providing I mean not money but in importing high tech medical equipment.
This will help reduce the medical tourism to India, Europe and America and could help bring better health services to Nigerians rich and poor.

A NEW NIGERIA
A new Nigeria must be born come 2019. Nigerians must be involved in a revolution through the ballot box. Young Nigerians must reject money from politicians and come out enmasse to vote for ideas and policies. They must make a statement with their voters card.
We have the power to change the country. We must make Nigeria Great. If we continue to vote for money or sit at home during election day, we will continue to remain here and be busy complaining and whining in the social media and yet no
change.
It is time to stop being lazing about in the social media and get involved in politics. Either you are contesting or you are voting.
I do not know what else to say but to call on you to rally around so we shall together as a nation turn things around and stop the wastages of our young and old lives.
Your comments are welcome but I will unapproved hate speeches. So be rest assured I will approve respectful criticisms or comments.

Ogaga Onokwakpor

One Comment

  1. Painful lost, but the first doctor at the First Rivers hospital should have set line on the patient, make sure patient’s air way is patent and breathing on going before going to call any surgeon or better still be making the calls while carrying out the above resuscitation means. ….Dr Ason from Ason medical intl

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