As the strike declared by the Association of Resident Doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Patients (LASUTH-ARD) entered the sixth day yesterday, hundreds of patients seeking healthcare in the hospital were turned back without getting needed treatment.
Many patients, some of who were visiting the hospital for the first time, had no idea about the strike before leaving home to seek medical care.
New patients were advised to return to the hospital on a new date, while some old patients were given new appointments.
However, only consultants provided skeletal services and attended to cases which needed urgent medical attention.
After the warning strike, the doctors have refused to return to work.
LASUTH-ARD on August 29 issued a notice to embark on a three-day warning strike from September 5 to 7, over shortage of resident doctors and House officers, a situation that has resulted to excess workload on resident doctors.
Although the warning strike ended on Friday, the acting President of LASUTH-ARD, Dr. Ibrahim Ogunbi, said following negotiations with representatives of the Lagos State government, resident doctors decided to provide emergency services from Saturday to enable government to respond to the demands of the doctors and also to attend to the plight of patients.
Ogunbi said for an over 100-bed hospital such as LASUTH, it was expected that there would be adequate personnel to provide services.
However, he disclosed that out of the 300 resident doctors that were expected to provide services in LASUTH, only 200 were in service.
Similarly, out of the 100 House officers expected to be in service, none has been employed by the management of the hospital.
A patient, who identified himself as Mr. Ola, who was seen at the Orthopaedic Clinic, complained bitterly that he arrived the hospital at 7.30a.m. but had waited since morning up till 11a.m. only to be told that the doctors were on strike.
He said some record officers advised him to go home and return on a future date.
There were also similar accounts from other patients who were tired and frustrated about the turn of events.
A source said only the medical consultants were attending to out-patients and they did so only from 8a.m. to 10a.m.
Patients in the Medical Emergency and Surgical Emergency were similarly attended to.
A woman, Mrs. Bukky Musa, who said her son who was scheduled to be operated on in the Ophthalmology Department (Eye clinic), said officials at the Eye Clinic told her that the operation could no longer be done because of the strike.
A physiotherapy patient, Amaka Okafor, said she did not know there was strike in LASUTH.
She said: “I never knew there was a strike. I came here on Friday and they gave me proper treatment and gave me some drugs. They asked me to also come back today (yesterday). On arrival, I was given yet another date. No doctor attended to me.”
Another woman, Mrs. Jubril, expressed disappointment that her daughter was given a new date for the operation.
She said: “They gave me an appointment since June for the operation for my daughter. Each time I come they would reschedule my appointment and ask me to come back. This strike is even making matters worse as I came today (yesterday) and they have rescheduled the operation again till November.”
Jubril expressed sadness over the development, adding that her daughter constantly complains of persistent discomfort in the eye.
She said: “My daughter complains daily about the pains she is going through in the eye. It gets worse daily and I don’t have enough money to take her to a private hospital. If I had enough money, I would have taken her to a private hospital in order to suppress the pains she goes through.
“It is just so painful and I don’t think I can wait till November because they might as well postpone it again. I don’t want my daughter to lose her eye.”
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