The hospital that first attended to a Nigerian woman who was attacked by suspected armed robbers in Lagos has explained its role in the tragedy.
Moradeun Balogun was reportedly on her way home from work when she was attacked on Monday night by armed men. She was taken to the hospital for emergency treatment, but passed on from excessive bleeding shortly afterwards.
Social media opinions were split on the cause of her death Wednesday, with the domineering narrative being that she was not immediately attended to by medical personnel at R. Jolad Hospital in Gbagada, Lagos.
The uncorroborated claim said she was rejected by the hospital because she did not immediately present a police report indicating that she was an armed robbery victim.
Social media commentators lashed out at the hospital for alleged complicity in Ms Balogun’s death, with many citing a violation of a 2017 law that mandates treatment of gunshot victims without a police report. The National Health Act (2014) also permits hospitals to treat victims of gunshot in the absence of a police report.
Some hospitals had for years declined treatments to victims of gunshot wounds because they were not sure whether such patients had been involved in armed robbery or other violent crimes.
But Funso Oladipo, the chief medical director at Jolad Hospital, told PREMIUM TIMES the claim that his hospital rejected Ms Balogun was false.
He said Ms Balogun, 29, had been brought to the hospital by some good Samaritans after suffering severe wounds to the neck.
“Immediately they brought her into the hospital premises, our doctors went to attend to her and they discovered that she was bleeding heavily,” Mr Oladipo said.
The doctor said after a few minutes, the doctors realised the case had become too severe for Jolad to treat and would require a vascular surgeon.
They then decided to move her to the state-run Gbagada General Hospital which was about five minutes’ drive away.
“We felt that was the best thing to do,” Mr Oladipo told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday afternoon. “We just had to immediately move her to a tertiary hospital which is superior to our hospital.”
Mr Oladipo said Ms Balogun’s situation was examined within a few minutes within the premises of Jolad Hospital and not inside the hospital.
“We didn’t move her into the hospital,” he said. “We immediately moved her to Gbagada after we realised that we cannot offer the required treatment and those who brought her had abandoned her with us.”
Mr Oladipo said Jolad Hospital is known to treat patients of gunshot wounds for several years, and was profiled by the Financial Times in 2007 for expediting treatment for wounded patients.
“We do not request for police report for gunshot wounds at Jolad Hospital,” the doctor said. “That is what we have done for many years as a policy.”
“We have a lot of cases this year alone in which patient of gunshot wounds were brought to Jolad and we treated,” he added. “Ifako Police Station and Pedro Station in this area can testify to this statement I am making to you.”
The doctor said he only learnt that Ms Balogun passed on later at Gbagada General Hospital, which he said could be because she had been bleeding for too long.
“We do not know when she was actually attacked or how long she had been bleeding before good Samaritans brought her to us,” he said. “If we can handle any emergency, we will do it. But if we can not handle it, we look at whether it was only cuts and bruises that we could stabilise before processing a referral.”
Mr Oladipo said Ms Balogun’s case was unfortunate for both her family and the country, saying the hospital would welcome all forms of investigation into its handling of the matter.
Already, friends of Ms Balogun, including those who said they attended Obafemi Awolowo University together, have been pouring tributes in her honour on social media. Many described her as a friendly, caring and hardworking woman who was tragically cut short at her prime.
A spokesperson for the police in Lagos, Bala Elkana, did not immediately return requests seeking comments about whether or not suspects have been arrested in connection with the fatal attack on Monday.