BY John Oluwadero
I am writing to appreciate everyone who read my open letter to the governor of Ekiti State and have since reached out to my family to encourage and express condolences. We are grateful for your thoughtfulness. God bless you.
Thankfully, the governor read the letter and issued a personal reply to us which has also been published openly as well. You can read it following this link.
We are grateful for the thoughtfulness of the governor to order an investigation on the issues raised in the open letter. The decision of the governor to act on the letter is an expression of his genuine concern for Ekiti people and his outstanding exemplary leadership.
God bless you, sir.
On EKSUTH Investigation
My letter was written with the ultimate goal of addressing the weak health system in Nigeria particularly on the issue of delayed emergency response. The letter was not written to contest issues with the EKSUTH on the death of my mother. The poor management of my mother’s emergency is one out of several cases of deaths as a result of poor management of emergencies in our hospitals.
I worked in EKSUTH in 2016 as an Intern Pharmacist and I know perfectly well before writing the open letter the kind of response to expect from EKSUTH. I am not surprised at all by the reports of their so-called investigation. As a family, we have no interest in contesting the outcome of their investigation. It does not serve the purpose of our intention for writing the open letter, neither will it bring back our mother to life.
However, it is very expedient to make it known to the management of EKSUTH that the principle of genuine and valid investigation requires neutrality hence all parties involved ought to be engaged and given the equal opportunity for fair hearing and supply of evidence. In the EKSUTH investigation process, our family was not contacted at all.
Like I initially said, we are not contesting the outcome of their investigation. It does not serve our purpose. We do not intend to allow our mum’s death to affect the livelihood of those involved in this sad event. However, we are open to correlating facts and figure with anyone who might have provided His Excellency with a contrary account of events that led to her demise.
Be it as it may, it is expedient to make two facts known concerning the report put together by EKSUTH as I deemed it fit to serve the goal of the open letter. EKSUTH mentioned in their report that our mum was admitted by 11:05 am according to her case file.
When my mum was brought to the hospital, I sent a text to inform a friend, and that she should help make an enquiry on the procedure required to travel into Ekiti. I had earlier called but she couldn’t pick. A screenshot of the text is attached here. The text was sent 10:02 am.
My mum had been in the hospital since 10:02 am. Her case file showed she was admitted 11:05am. That means she was delayed for at least 73 minutes. This is not ideal for whatsoever reason, COVID or no COVID, for a diabetic emergency. (kindly note that the sad event took place on Tuesday 21st April 2020).
Furthermore, EKSUTH also reported that my mum may have died from “continued and unmonitored glucose administration” because I mentioned in my letter that she used glucose four days earlier (on Friday) when her blood sugar level was 33 mg/dl.
My open letter did not mentioned that she continued the use of glucose. My open letter did not mention that she was unmonitored. I have two of my senior colleagues in Ado who help us monitor our mom’s health. My mum only used two teaspoons of glucose in a bottled water 75 ml only when she was experiencing hypoglycemia on Friday.
She was taken to the hospital on Tuesday when she had hyperglycemia. The use of glucose in hypoglycemia is standard medical advice for diabetic patients anywhere in the world. She has her glucometer and she duly monitored her blood glucose. Links to emergency diabetic advice worldwide can be found here and here.
I could have effectively expressed my thoughts in the open letter without having to mention all of my mum’s health information. However, I intentionally did make her health information known to the public to raise awareness on the issue of diabetic emergency.
She is not taking her health information with her to heaven. But we can use it to save someone’s life. Any diabetic patient may experience either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia at any given point in time, at any given interval. It is an established medical fact. It is not strange that it happened to my mum in four days interval.
However, in all cases of diabetic emergency, the recommended advice is prompt emergency response. If you get to check health advisory in most advanced countries, (one of such links shared here), it is often clearly stated that people should CALL 911. It is an emergency situation that requires a prompt emergency response, and that is the ultimate goal of my letter.
A lot of lives could have been saved if we had an excellent emergency response system in Nigeria. And this is not just for issues of diabetic emergency or other non-communicable diseases NCDs related emergency but even most importantly from accidents.
We are currently working with friends and associates with experience in ambulatory and emergency services on researching innovative, sustainable, and locally adaptable approach to operating ambulatory and emergency services in the state. The report of this study shall be made available to His Excellency.
We are also in conversation with our friends and associates on designing a community-based health education model to promoting physical activity and a healthy diet in Ekiti State as a way of combatting non-communicable diseases.
A message to ALL Nigerian
I will want to make it clear to ALL Nigerians that ANYONE at ANY GIVEN TIME can be a victim of a weak health system. The poor management of our mum emergency is just one out of several cases of what is happening in our health sector in Nigeria on a daily basis. It is not new. Our mum has died as a result of the weak health system in Nigeria. She won’t die twice. She is now enjoying her eternal rest.
However, you never can tell who will be the next victim of the weak health system in Nigeria. And, you never can tell when it will happen. So, it is either we fold our hands and accept the status quo, or we rise in unity as a people to raise our voice so loud and demand a better health system from our leaders as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Until then, we all are potential victims.
Once again, we greatly appreciate His Excellency Dr. Kayode Fayemi for replying to the open letter, and expressing his interest in working towards improving the health system in Ekiti State.
Thank you and God bless you.
Pharm. John Oluwadero
For the family.
This article was first published on The Cable.