The Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State chapter, has directed all the doctors working in the three government hospitals on the Lagos Island to begin an indefinite strike over the death of its colleague, Dr Vwaere Diaso.
The NMA also declared a five-day mourning period in the state and asked doctors in the other government-owned hospitals to scale down activities as a mark of respect for the dead colleague.
The hospitals to embark on the indefinite strike are the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos; Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos, and the Massey Street Children’s Hospital, Lagos.
The association said Diaso died on Tuesday at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, after she was trapped in the elevator for more than 40 minutes before she was rescued, and there was no blood available to resuscitate her.
The NMA made this known in a press statement signed by its state Chairman, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, and Secretary, Ismail Ajibowo, on Wednesday.
“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.
“To us, this was an avoidable death and it’s unfortunate that it was allowed to happen. We are pained and we are mourning. We are well aware that this same elevator has been a source of problem for many years during which several complaints have been made to all relevant agencies with no respite, the statement read in part.
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 government should as a matter of urgency commence the complete overhaul of the house officers’ quarters on the island; all other infrastructures in all our government hospitals that need repairs should be urgently attended to. The blood transfusion system in Lagos State needs immediate revamping for improved services.
“As a result of this sad incident, the State Officers Committee of the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State, has decided that the upcoming Annual General Meeting will be a low-key event as a mark of respect to our colleague. We appeal to our colleagues to remain calm as NMA Lagos State leadership is on top of the situation and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is not just served but seen to have been served,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has condoled with the family of the late Dr. Vwaere Diaso, over the death of the doctor.
The state government, in a statement on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Olumide Sogunle, said it was shocked by the death of Dr Vwaere, who reportedly passed on as a result of the mechanical failure of an elevator at the hospital on Tuesday.
According to the statement, 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.
It added that the Lagos State Government will ensure that anyone found negligent by the report of the inquiry will face appropriate sanctions.