The patient who tested negative to coronavirus in Enugu is dead — but she might have survived if she had not been treated like an outcast, according to a protest letter signed by “a very heartbroken daughter”.
The letter was addressed to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor.
In the letter, the “daughter” — who did not reveal her name — accused the staff of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Colliery Parklane, where her late mother was isolated, of “wrong treatment and stigmatisation”.
The unnamed woman had been wrongly reported as being positive in a social media post but it turned out she was negative after she was tested.
The daughter alleged that her late mother, who returned to Nigeria after a five-month trip to the UK to visit her children, was isolated in an abandoned and old section of the hospital.
She accused the staff of the hospital of being unprofessional in the way and manner her mother was treated, which, according to her, made the deceased feel worthless.
A stretcher at ESUTH
“I am writing on behalf of myself and family in regards to the 70-year-old woman suspected of the Covid-19 in Enugu published on Saturday 14th March 2020,” the letter read.
“The patient who is my mother, unfortunately, passed away on Sunday 15th March 2020 having tested negative to the aforementioned virus.
“My mother was isolated in a dilapidated environment that seems to have been left uninhabitable over a long period of time. The isolation centre in Enugu is an abandoned old section of the hospital, where the grass and debris were being cleared whilst my mother was there.
“The staff at the hospital were unprofessional in the way they handled my mother. She was stigmatized and this made her feel worthless.
“My mother arrived at the hospital on Friday 13th March, 2020, blood samples were collected on Saturday 14th March, 2020 with results expected on Monday 16th March, 2020.”
She said the deceased spent “three days in dire situation without adequate health care”.
“If the result for Covid-19 was ascertained on time, my mother would still be here with us, as she would have been moved to a better-equipped hospital with the right experts to deal with her underlying illnesses,” she said.
“My mother died due to the negligence and unpreparedness of the state in putting adequate facilities including staff training in place. The new strand of the coronavirus was detected back in December 2019 and it is absolutely disappointing that there is no appropriate isolation centre in Enugu State.
“After the death of my mother, finding a workable stretcher to move her body was impossible! My mother’s body was carried into the ambulance on a wretched tool.”
She noted that the N20 million released by the state government for the management of the isolation centre after the news of the suspected case “came a little too late” as appropriate measures and faciilitres should have been put in place before then.
The ESUTH isolation centre
She said: “It should not have taken my mother’s suspected case to prompt an action from the government. As l write this, l am sure that no plans has been made for any future case of Covid-19 despite the promised allocated funds.
“In conclusion, l would like to reiterate that the environment of the isolation centre, staff behaviour and the unpreparedness of the Enugu state government resulted to my mother’s unexpected death.
“The objective of this letter is to make sure that no other person will have to go through what my mother went through. I am therefore appealing to the governor of Enugu state to ensure that the funds allocated to the isolation centre is rightly used for the purpose for which it was meant for.”