UCTH react to reports on patient who died after "severe respiratory distress"
…appeal to journalists on fair, balanced reportage
BY: Our Admin
The Management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH have expressed dismay at a recent report on a few online platforms based in Cross River State using the headline, “UCTH: Deathtrap or a Hospital?”.
A release by the Hospital Management made available to newsmen on Saturday, by the Director of Administration, Ededet Eyoma Esq, noted that the case in point which prompted the author of the publication to ply his trade was about a patient (Name withheld by the management) who was brought to the hospital with severe respiratory distress after he had collapsed near a bank facility within Calabar.
The statement read in parts; “As a responsible Management, and cognizant of our duties to the health-seeking public, we have reviewed the patient's case records interviewed eyewitnesses and personnel who were present that Monday evening.”
“The purported author of the article and publisher of Fearless Reporters; Inyali Peter, was not an eye witness to the events surrounding the patient on that fateful day. He admitted to merely publishing someone else's opinion.”
“Responsible journalism demands that he should have conducted an unbiased investigation of the events before going public with such a damaging publication.”
“The patient in question (names withheld), a 58year old male patient was rushed to the Emergency Department of UCTH on Monday 4th May 2020, at 7 pm with a history of generalized body weakness and breathlessness.’
“He had collapsed outside the hospital while attempting to withdraw money from an ATM along Marian Road, Calabar. He was subsequently brought to our Hospital. On duty, that evening, in fact, was a medical doctor who was the patient's personal friend. His vital signs at presentation were grossly deranged and he had an oxygen saturation (SPO2) of 53%.”
“Please note that an oxygen saturation (SPO2) of less than 95% is evidence of severe tissue hypoxia and associated with a very poor prognosis. Records also show he was in severe respiratory distress with a respiratory rate of 46 cycles per minute. He was therefore in extremis with a very poor prognosis at the time of presentation. He was promptly attended to, and a clinical diagnosis of Myocardial Infarction was made. An intravenous line was set up; Normal saline, Adrenaline, Hydrocortisone, and oxygen were all given and the Medical Team called/invited to evaluate him, while efforts to resuscitate him continued. However, he kept gasping and died by 7.30 pm, when all resuscitative efforts failed. At some point in his resuscitation, there were four medical doctors on this patient. The patient was therefore well attended to within the very short period he was in the Hospital. Patients with massive acute cardiovascular events such as this hardly make it even in the best centres all over the world.”
“This patient was not able to talk and his history was given by his wife. Inyali Peter claimed in his write up that "He answered them till when he was now struggling to breathe". We have insisted on an autopsy on this index case."
“The author claimed that 'the shortest way to the grave now in Cross River state is to send someone to the teaching hospital for treatment'. Our statistics tell a different story. There were 164,558 patients attending our Hospital in 2019 with 11,584 admissions. The percentage of our mortality rate is 0.5% when we consider total Hospital visits and at worst 7% when we consider admissions only. These rates are lower than the mortality rates of similar facilities (range: 9-30%) in Nigerian studies. Criticism must be factual and constructive.”
“The Management of UCTH recognizes that some staff may not adhere to the high ethical standards required in Medicine and the allied professions. Bad habits cultivated over a long time may not change suddenly. We recognize that we are a work in progress, but are determined to make the difficult decisions that will create a modern health service for our people. Our staff knows that with this Management, there are assured consequences for bad and/or unethical behaviour, and there are no sacred cows. Clinicians and non-clinicians have been queried and sanctioned for bad conduct in the last one year.”
“As a Hospital, we are determined and will continue to work to improve our processes and systems for the benefit of our people. The author admitted that the environment is more aesthetically appealing. This was not the case 2 years ago. The result of working on attitudes may take some time to manifest. The good news is that the majority of our staff are decent professionals. We will continue to engage with our staff, train and re-train, motivate, and inspire while holding people to account until we create a critical mass that will serve our interests.”
“Members of the public are please advised to always confirm information before rushing to social media.”