How kid on oxygen almost died after power cut at Enugu Teaching Hospital — Witness

As darkness enveloped the hospital, a child was put on the throes of death

A child on emergency oxygen supply narrowly cheated death on Sunday night after electricity supply to the Children Emergency Section of the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital was suddenly interrupted leaving the patient gasping for breath, a witness has told PREMIUM TIMES.

Michael Eze, an American-based academic, who took a relative’s son to the hospital at the time, said he was shocked that the hospital had no back-up electricity supply, thereby endangering the lives of kids on emergency treatment.

“This is the disaster called Enugu state teaching hospital. There are children in the children emergency ward. Light just went off and there was no back up electricity, Worse still – one of the kids was on oxygen supply when the light went off. But this is not new, the children emergency ward has not had back up electricity for weeks. The sorry state of tonight event was watching nurses and doctors making desperate efforts to stabilize the kid on oxygen,” Mr. Eze wrote in an email to this newspaper.

He later narrated to one of our editors by telephone how nurses struggled frantically to save the child’s life by manually pumping oxygen into his lung after the blackout at 9.10 p.m.

“It was really sad,” Mr. Eze said. “I could see the child dying before our very eyes because oxygen supply to him was suddenly interrupted. Initially, the doctors and nurses were unmoved. They didn’t make any effort. They were just bidding their time. I couldn’t bear it and I raised an alarm and threatened to go to the press if anything happened to the patient.

“They started pumping oxygen into him manually and eventually between 2 and 3 a.m., electricity supply was restored and the patient was barely able to make it alive. The child was just struggling to be alive.”

Mr. Eze said doctors at the hospital told him that what happened was not new and that that section of the hospital had a power inverter that had since stopped functioning well.

“When I initially started complaining, there were telling me ‘it appears you don’t live in this country. It’s nothing new. There are times there won’t be electricity supply for weeks’. They were just telling me cock and bull story.”

The lecturer said even the boy he and his relatives took to the hospital for treatment was not attended to because of the power cut.

“As far as we are concerned, the boy was an emergency case but we were told he could not be tested because there was no electricity. That we had to come back tomorrow (today).”

Mr. Eze said he became sadder when he learnt that while the children emergency ward was in darkness, the “big men” residential quarters of the hospital had electricity supply.

“This is really really sad and I weep for this country,” he said.

Authorities of the hospital could not be reached to comment for this story at this time.

When contacted Monday morning via the contact telephone listed on the university website, an official who introduced himself as the institution’s director of ICT, said he would only be able to provide contact information of officials of the hospital “later in the day”.


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  • Obinna

    CC: Sullivan Iheanacho Chime.

    You have proved yourself to be a good administrator, am sure if your handlers allow you to see this post, you would surely do something.
    May God save Nigeria!

    • True Nigerian

      Laughable, really laughable! You say he is a good administrator. Yet you suggest that his handlers may not allow him to read this. Hahahaha! For God’s sake, this is a story on the internet media. A good administrator does not need any handler’s permission to switch on his I-Pad, I-phone, or any other browsing device and click on news reports about his country.

      Your comment displays the slavish mentality which often makes me wonder whether there is any point in discussing Nigeria. The people of this country are simply lost. If a governor does things that are normal, people will praise him. You are here suggesting that if a governor fails to know the news or the truth about what is going on in his own state, he should be absolved of the blame and instead, the blame should be borne by some imaginary handler who has the power to prevent the governor from reading the news if he really wants to read it. But the same governor will illegally work for the removal of his deputy despite national condemnation. Meanwhile, these same leaders gulp millions of public funds under a budget heading of “buying newspapers”.Yet, somehow, the same governor who runs Enugu like a fiefdom suddenly becomes so weak that he needs the permission of an imaginary handler in order to do something as little and as common as reading an online newspaper story about his own state. The mentality of Nigerians is in abject squalor!

      • D1

        You can never say it in any other way my brother. Really laughable, You can never understand Nigerians way of thinking. Chime has now turned to Suntai, guided and controlled by his supposed powerful handlers. Unbelievable!

  • anthony

    This story is inconclusive and malicious i hope and encourage the hospital management to investigate and sue this chalatant for defamation of character. This is not acceptable by any means. Wonder why some people would want to paint tnere fatherland in such light. Yes we are a resource poor community due to our own making but this shouldn’t be d way to go. Cheap popularity isn’t the way foward