By Sodeeq Atanda
On March 14, FIJ reported that Biodun Olabamiji, the Governor of Ekiti State, had taken over the treatment of Kemi Afolabi, a schoolgirl admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido-Ekiti (FETHI).
The intervention of the state government heralded joy not only for Afolabi but for his parents who had been deeply disturbed since a speeding car mowed down the girl at the close of school and cut off her left limb.
In a letter directed to the chief medical director of the hospital, Professor Adekunle Ajayi, the government conveyed its readiness to foot Afolabi’s entire bill, including the purchase of an artificial limb.
The Afolabis heaved a sigh of relief, thinking the following days and weeks would be smooth for their daughter. But this would not be the case.
The governor’s intervention came after a series of reports on the perceived moves of the hospital to force the 15-year-old girl out in order to lift financial burdens off the shoulders of the driver who caused her pain. FIJ learned that after footing medical bills for a few weeks, the driver reached out to some of the senior officers in the hospital for help.
Subsequently, the girl was ignored by doctors and other medical officials in the hospital for weeks, even when a metallic implant in her leg made it difficult for her to obey the call of nature. Doctors also asked the family to leave the facility, claiming that Adeola could come from home once in a while. A medical expert, however, told FIJ that it was a completely wrong move, as sending her away from the hospital in such a critical condition could take her back to square one.
Following the receipt of the governor’s letter at 2:53 pm on March 10, the hospital promised it would provide details of the teenager’s medical needs in a week, but this didn’t happen until a team from the governor’s office visited the hospital. At a meeting with the hospital’s management, an understanding was reached that treatment would commence without further delay.
Part of the outcome of the meeting was that the hospital would give Afolabi’s family a file granting them special access to drugs and other necessaries at its pharmacy.
▪︎ IFEANHEALTH ORTHOPAEDICS COMES IN
While the hospital was yet to commence treatment as promised, IfeanHealth Orthopaedics, a private health facility, appeared in the picture, courtesy of some of the doctors in the hospital.
A lady who identified as Bunmi was at the FTHI on March 16, claiming to be a representative of IfeanHealth. According to her, IfeanHealth was in partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank to help teenage amputees with prostheses.
According to Adeola’s father, the lady, who also promised the girl free education, said he had to reject the governor’s offer to benefit from her organisation’s programme.
Speaking with FIJ, Bunmi said, “We are a private health facility, and we have a programme dedicated to helping young amputees with artificial limbs as well as scholarship for the secondary school education.
“I was informed about Adeola’s case by some top doctors at the hospital, and this was why I came from Lagos to Ekiti to assess her condition. Based on my assessment, she is qualified to benefit from our intervention.”
Suspecting that Bunmi was being used by some doctors to prevent her daughter from benefitting from the governor’s intervention, Adeola’s father called and spoke to her in a harsh tone, after which the two stopped communicating.
IfeanHealth, however, sent a text message to Adeola’s father out of the blues on April 8 to bring his daughter to BON Hotel NEST, Plot A Oduduwa Street, off Adeyi Street, off Awolowo road, Old Bodija, Ibadan.
Interestingly, Doctor Ariyibi, a senior doctor at FTHI, led other doctors to inform Afolabi’s parents that they should get prepared for their journey to Ibadan to participate in an assessment programme by IfeanHealth.
“Doctor Aribiyi and some other doctors came to our ward to get us ready for a journey to Ibadan to attend the event. But we are not going anywhere. I have told them. I don’t believe in any other intervention aside from the governor’s, and they should let that take its full course,” Adeola’s father told FIJ.
According to Afolabi’s father, all that the hospital has done since the governor’s intervention is remove the medical implant in Adeola’s leg. He also said the hospital claimed they could not find her daughter’s file.
“The only time doctors attended to my daughter was when they came to remove the medical implant from her leg. We have not seen them since then. We have not been given any file to collect drugs at the pharmacy. We are the one paying for the drugs,” he said.
“I asked the nurses we see around to tell me our fate, and they told me my daughter’s file was not with them. My wife once went to them to search for it, but they could not find it.
“It appears they want to frustrate the government’s intervention that is supposed to lessen our challenge.”
This publication had only reported how the CMD became angry at reports of the hospital’s attitude to Afolabi’s treatment and the driver’s tactical influence to discharge the girl prematurely.
FIJ also reported that the family was in need of some money to treat the schoolgirl and make her stand on her feet again. So, when the governor got involved, it was believed the void had been filled.
Events since then have prevented the intervention from its full impact. FIJ called the hospital’s public relations officer’s telephone number posted on its website, but it was unreachable. A text message sext to the line had not been responded to at press time.
Adeola’s father told FIJ that he would appeal to the governor to order the transfer of his daughter to the Ekiti State Univeristy Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti, for treatment, as he had lost confidence in FETHI. (Foundation for Investigative Journalism)