The Federal Government has warned public hospitals to desist from rejecting and delaying testing of patients in emergency situations. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who gave the warning at a meeting with the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and medical directors of government hospitals under the FCT catchment area, also directed all major public hospitals in the FCT to facilitate fast sample collection, reduce turn-around time for test results and bring more efficiency to the response strategy.
Ehanire, who said the development whereby health practitioners were neglecting their patients mainly for fear of contracting coronavirus, was totally unacceptable, directed the activation of GeneXpert diagnostic machines at the National Hospital and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), where most of the reports emanated from. His words: “I appeal to all Medical Directors, who we have specifically invited here today for this message, that we shall hold each personally accountable for the outcomes emanating from your hospitals.
“No emergency should be denied attention, even if it means admitting on a stretcher or examination couch to give life-saving oxygen. You are to kindly ensure that patients are attended to with dignity and dispatch. “This has to change and to address it, I have directed that a side lab for GeneXpert COVID-19 diagnostic machines, which deliver results within one hour, should be deployed and activated at the National Hospital Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, to cut down waiting time. “I also direct that basic diagnostic side labs be set up at the emergency centres of major hospitals.
I am talking of the frequency of reports of very sick persons being rejected and abandoned by our hospitals. “Many have died having been denied attention in hospitals, or told there is no bed, often after they have made marathon journeys from one hospital to the other in search of help.
“This is not acceptable, we cannot afford to continue to lose so many of our people, who have in fact found their way to a hospital, only to lose their lives to health conditions, some of which could have been cured. “We know that not all emergencies are COVID-19 and we know that our professional oaths oblige us to save lives and do something for those who come to us for help. “Our calling as doctors and health workers is to save lives. We cannot, at this time, abandon a divine responsibility, especially in case of emergency when our service is most needed. The situation calls for reexamining our system.”