Women, Hospital Trade Accusations Over Maternal And Child Treatment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Women, Hospital Trade Accusations Over Maternal And Child Treatment

Posted: Mar 9, 2016 at 2:30 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Chinyere Abiaziem

The Hippocratic Oath, medical doctors take is among other things that: “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug…”

However, this “warmth, sympathy, and understanding,” has been put to test at Randle General Hospital, Maternal and Child Care Centre, Gbaja, Lagos where some pregnant women accused the medical staff of the hospital of extortion and harsh treatment.
These women in different stages of pregnancy alleged that they are extorted by hospital management through collection of N10, 600 registration fee and N400 antenatal visit charge.  Having paid for these, they claimed they are only given a receipt for the registration while there is no documentation for the charges on antenatal visits.

Apart from the alleged extortion, the women also complained about the cruelty of the nurses and administrative workers at the hospital and their habit of hurling insults at expectant mothers.
They also alleged that the nurses at the maternal and child centre do not document the results of their blood sugar level, blood pressure, weight but ask them to commit the results to their memory.

Following the allegations, Independent visited the hospital on a fact-finding mission.  Some pregnant women confirmed the report, saying that it used to be worse some months ago before the visit of a senator who instructed the hospital staff on the need for attitudinal change.
One of the pregnant women who spoke on condition of anonymity narrated her bitter experience while on admission in the hospital for fibroid complications and pregnancy. She told Independent that on a particular occasion, the cover of her food flask fell and a nurse refused to help her pick it up.
“I was in serious pain and could not bend when the cover of my food flask fell from me. So I asked the nurse around me to help me get it but she refused and insisted I get it myself. Feeling my pain and observing my shock, the doctor who was with me was the one that bent to help me get the flask cover. You can imagine the height of cruelty,” she said.

She said that she never intended to register for her antenatal at the hospital because of the stories she had heard about the attitude of the some nurses but that her husband pressured her into registering because of the proximity of the hospital to her place of work.
Another pregnant woman, Mrs. Ruth Sunday said that; “Generally the nurses are rude; they talk anyhow to people. I do not know because of what I heard that; they do not pay them very well. But I know the service rendered in this hospital is very good since they specialise on children and women care.”
According to another pregnant woman, patients are at the mercy of the nurses. “Patients here are at the mercy of the nurses, should they get to your turn on the antenatal day and mention your name without you being around, then you are in trouble of receiving tongue lash”.
“They sometime just snap at people, they are nasty, they talk to people anyhow, I try to avoid having any issue with them. So I have never got shouted at. Then some of the doctors pick files at random without following order of arrangement.”

Hospital Denies Accusations
The management of Randle General Hospital, Maternal and Child Care Centre, Gbaja however denied all allegations made against them. The hospital also said they treat their “patients with due respect as ‘kings and queens’ because without them the hospital cannot exist”.
Officials of the hospital who chose to speak without been quoted said that they placed special emphasis on the welfare of their patients.
They refuted the claim of extortion, saying the N10,600 is the delivery charge while the N400 is for the tests they conduct and that all monies are collected by the consultant hired by the government for that purpose with proper documentation.
The hospital also denied the allegation that the pregnant women are told to memorise the results of their blood sugar level, blood pressure and weight. The hospital said that details of such tests are dully recorded in the pregnant women’s pink card.
On the attitude of their staff, the management of the hospital said that they try as much as possible to ensure professionalism. They accused some of the pregnant women of cooking up stories against the hospital and urged the public to ignore the allegations. They however vowed to take appropriate disciplinary action against any staff a case of unprofessional conduct is established against.

Government’s Reaction
When the Chairman, Lagos state House of Assembly Committee on Health Services, Honourable Segun Olulade was called to react on this, he requested that a text be sent to him, which was done. But at the time of going to the press, he neither replied the texts nor called.