There is palpable fear and apprehension among the staff and management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) right now as 3 patients have been confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus in the hospital.
This coronavirus crisis started when three patients who initially tested negative for COVID-19 were re-tested and results now came back positive.
When the first series of test was reported to be negative, the patients were removed from isolation and taken into the male medical ward and in the process, other patients, doctors, nurses, cleaners, porters and patients relatives must have been exposed to the deadly virus.
While in the ward, the clinical state of one of the patients with a pre-existing medical condition – chronic kidney disease to be precise, deteriorated and was was taken to the renal unit for dialysis(another exposure) and he later died in the intensive care unit of the hospital (yet another exposure of health workers in ICU).
In the meantime, the doctors who attended to these patients confirmed to the Nigerian Health Blog via a phone interview that the patients were admitted via A and E with complaints of cough, difficulty in breathing, catarrh but they all denied their travel history.
According to one of the numerous doctors who had direct contact with the patients: “I am scared for my life, why do patients lie?, why are most patients bent on spreading this virus to health workers, i clerked these patients personally in the Medical Accident and Emergency Unit but none of them told me they just returned from Europe including the relatives that brought them even when i asked several times.
“We decided to take their samples for COVID-19 screening to Irrua Specialist Hospital because their symptoms were highly suspicious of coronavirus infection.”
“The results came back negative about 72 hours later and by this time, one of the patients had died in ICU after an unsuccessful dialysis. Repeat results today has now confirmed they are all positive. To make matters worse, it is today am hearing the remaining two have admitted to travelling abroad.” He said.
The Nigerian Health Blog reliably gathered that one of the coronavirus infected patients have been referred to Irrua Specialist Hospital, while the other has been removed from the ward back into isolation.
Meanwhile, at most 25 medical doctors have gone into mandatory isolation. Out of the 25 doctors, at least 13 are house officers and close to 12 are resident doctors.
A message received by the NIGERIAN HEALTH BLOG from a senior doctor whose department was directly involved in this unfortunate saga read:
“Currently 13 houseofficers and at least 8 Residents in my department have been asked to go on isolation because they had direct contact with both case. So there is practically no where to scale down further to than to close the department.”
As tension is building in UBTH over this ugly situation, the CMD of the hospital, Prof Darlington Obaseki has set-up a life insurance package for health workers that will be in the frontline of treating COVID-19 patients.
He (Obaseki) has been constantly criticized for the poor handling of coronavirus in the hospital as many of the healthworkers have complained of lack of personal protective equipments like face masks and hand sanitizers. Others say the hospital was never prepared for COVID-19 inspite of several warnings.
Fumigation is presently ongoing in the wards and emergency units of the hospital. The whole hospital now looks deserted.