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A policeman’s fate hangs in the balance



A policeman’s fate   hangs in the balance

It is barely three weeks now since Corporal Richard Dooga, a serving police officer at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja had an accident where he sustained a spinal cord injury. That makes it difficult for him to move about as it was before.


Corporal Dooga, a native of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State is not finding it easy at all in his hospital bed at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) where he is battling between life and death as the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Terlumun Swende, has since turned blind eyes at the patient who is now wallowing in excruciating pains.


Family members of the police officer, who are equally traumatised by the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities of the hospital, are on a daily basis seen weeping within and around the premises of the Teaching Hospital over the inhuman manner in which their loved one is been handled.


New Telegraph’s findings reveal that it has been the stock in trade of doctors and some health workers in the hospital to treat their patients in that manner including those with referral cases, a development that has given its present administration bad name even to the outside world.


When New Telegraph visited Corporal Dooga’s at the hospital, he was immersed in deep pains and praying to God to help him survive the major operation which requires at least N2 million.


Corporal Dooga told New Telegraph on his hospital bed that he was travelling to his village for weekend on Friday May 11. When he got to River Mu at Igor in Ikpa-Mbatyerev in Gwer East Local Government Area at about 8-9 pm, they (him and seven other occupants of the vehicle in which he was the driver), spotted a lady on top of the Mu bridge struggling to kick start her motorcycle.


He explained that because of the bad condition of the road coupled with the high speed they were on, the vehicle rammed into the bridge as all his efforts to dodge it failed and the car somersaulted several times causing the accident where he sustained the injury.


Corporal Dooga said the vehicle carried eight passengers among them were six ladies, adding that four of them survived, three of them sustained spinal cord injuries while three other died.


“I was coming home from Abuja and on reaching Ikpa-Mbatyerev along Aliade road at Igbor settlement area, we came to Mu bridge where we had the accident which affected my spinal cord.


On approaching the bridge, we saw a lady on top of the bridge at about 8-9 pm trying to kick start her motorcycle and we were on speed. Unknown to us that there was a bridge there, because the road was bad and have not plied it before, we jammed the bridge because while trying to dodge the lady and the car somersaulted several times”.


“I sustained spinal cord injury, and as you can see for yourself, I can neither move my legs nor sit upright. I am currently a serving police officer with the Nigerian Police, Force Headquarters in Abuja and my rank is Corporal”.


“In the vehicle, we were eight in number including six ladies and I was the driver. Three casualties were recorded, four survived, three of us are suffering for spinal cord injury. Among us, two are receiving treatment in Gboko, one at Vandeikya and I am here at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital.”


Corporal Dooga told New Telegraph that when the accident occurred, he informed the Force Headquarters and they advised him to submit his medical report but he was yet to do so as doctors in the hospital had not commenced treatment since he came more than three weeks ago.


Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that the delay in the commencement of treatment of the victim is because of internal squabbles between management of the hospital and doctors.


Significantly too is the fact that the accident happened when members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) were on strike.


Chief Medical Director of BSUTH, Dr. Terlumun Swende, in a reaction, linked the development to skeletal services being rendered in the hospital as a result of the JOHESU strike, adding that even though the union has called off the strike, normal services were yet to resume.


“Are you not aware that JOHESU are on strike and whatever we are doing now is skeletal. Even though surgeons are here, we are doing skeletal work. Even though JOHESU in the state had issued statement pulling out of the strike, normal work has not resumed.”


Also speaking, Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Mrs. Cecilia Ojabo, expressed shock that the police Corporal’s issue had continued to linger, explaining however that the only category of health workers seen on duty now are resident doctors and consultants; adding that on the part of nurses, those seen on duty are those on contract basis.

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