THE Lagos state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has declared a strike over a colleague’s death.
The doctors’ body directed doctors working in the three government hospitals on Lagos Island to begin an indefinite strike over the death of its colleague, Vwaere Diaso.
The NMA also proclaimed five days of national mourning in the state and asked medical staff at other government-run institutions to curtail their regular schedules in remembrance of the deceased colleague.
The Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, the Lagos General Hospital, and the Lagos Massey Street Children’s Hospital are all expected to go on an indefinite strike.
According to the NMA, Diaso passed away on Tuesday at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, after spending more than 40 minutes locked in the lift before being rescued, and no blood was available to revive her.
The association disclosed this in a press statement signed by its state Chairman, Benjamin Olowojebutu, and Secretary, Ismail Ajibowo, on Wednesday, August 2.
“The NMA Lagos State received with rude shock the death of one of our members, Dr Vwaere Diaso, a medical house officer, whose death occurred as a result of injuries sustained when the elevator she was in crashed. This is heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, and quite unfortunate.
“We commiserate with her immediate family, her colleagues on the Island, the Medical Guild, and all body of doctors in Lagos State. The information we got was that she was trapped in the elevator for more than 40 minutes before she was rescued.
“We were also reliably informed that there was no blood available for resuscitation, and this has become a recurring issue as a result of the review made by the government on the previous policy on blood donation,” the NMA stated.
The association said the death was unfortunate, and her death pains the NMA.
They added that the elevator issue has been on for so long despite several complaints and requested an investigation into circumstances leading to her death.
“The association, however, demanded an immediate and unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“We declare a five-day statewide mourning period; we demand an immediate, unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident; all those found culpable in this matter, especially the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Ms Adenike Adekambi, are all brought to justice.
“We direct all our doctors in the three government hospitals on the Island (GH Lagos, LIMH, and MSCH) to commence indefinite strike action until the investigations are completed, and justice served; we immediately direct our doctors in all the other government hospitals to scale down activities as a mark of respect for our dead colleague. Only emergency services should be rendered for the next five days,” the NMA added.
As a matter of urgency, it urged the government to commence the complete overhaul of the house officers’ quarters on the island and all other infrastructures in government hospitals that need repairs.
In addition, the doctors association said the blood transfusion system in Lagos State needs immediate revamping for improved service.
The NMA said as a result of the incident, the upcoming Annual General Meeting will be a low-key event as a mark of respect to their colleague.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has reacted to the death of the doctor in a statement on its official Twitter handle on Wednesday, August 2.
In the statement, the government consoled the deceased’s family and said it has set up an inquiry to investigate the incident.
“The sad event occurred on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. The State Government, especially management and staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, commiserate with the family of the deceased on the unfortunate loss of their daughter, who passed on as a result of the mechanical failure of an elevator at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island.
“An inquiry by a team of officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Lagos State Safety Commission and certified Lift and Vertical Transportation Equipment experts has commenced,” the Lagos state government said.
The Lagos State Government added that it will ensure that anyone found negligent by the report of the inquiry will face appropriate sanctions.