Oluwajimi was a cheerful and brilliant boy, a student of the prestigious Saint Gregory’s College Lagos. He excelled in his studies and was well loved by his classmates & teachers not to mention his two sisters. To think that Oluwajimi is no longer with us creates a crippling feeling of grief and despair because this was a loss that could have been avoided. As the first son of the family, he was the star of our world. His sisters looked up to him as their only brother and inspiration, as parents, he gave us immense joy to see this beautiful soul progress so smoothly until his life was cut short due to what is now obviously professional negligence and a pointer to the failure of the medical system at Reddington hospital.
Early last year January 25th 2017 to be precise, we got a call from the school that our 12 year old son had fever and was in the school’s sick bay. We rushed to the school as early as 8am the following day and met him in the sick bay and that was when he told us that he accidentally swallowed the stub of his pen (the bottom piece) a day before at about 3pm in the afternoon. Immediately we took him to the Reddington hospital in Ikeja where a chest XRAY and a CT SCAN was done and they confirmed to us there was nothing in his system that it’s possible he had passed it out already. The boy confirmed to them that he had not used the toilet and when he tried to cough it out as soon as he swallowed it nothing came out. I got worried and insisted further test be done but was told by the doctor on duty that he would be admitted and placed on intravenous injection and if peradventure the object is in his system the antibiotics will flush it out. He was admitted and given antibiotics to clear the inflammation and the fever he had.
After few weeks he started coughing and it was so bad that we had to pull him out of the boarding school for better management. We came back to Reddington and they decided to carry out a tuberculosis test which was negative. The cough went on and we kept going back to the hospital.
He wakes up every morning and coughs for about 30 minutes, we kept going back to Reddington and all they kept giving him was cough syrup and occasionally antibiotics claiming he had infections.
Around May or June 2017,he had fever and we took him back to Reddington and I complained bitterly to the pediatrician on duty (Dr Odedina) but he sat me down and told me that my son was asthmatic and that the earlier we start to treat him as an asthmatic patient the better for us all. He went further to say that all symptoms presented is that of a person suffering from asthma. I told him there was no history of anybody with asthma in the family but he was adamant and since I am not a medical professional I had to accept and treatment commenced.
He was given different asthmatic drugs from Ventolin inhaler, tablets to Seretide which was meant for chronic asthma patients.
In October 2017 he fell ill again and we took him back to Reddington and I insisted another chest XRAY should be done and that was when it was confirmed that one of the lobes in his right lungs had collapsed. I went to goggle and checked reasons for collapse in the lungs and one of the reason is foreign body in the lungs e.g biro cover etc. I immediately got the attention of one of the hospital’s pediatrician (Dr. Olonade) who was also treating him all along. She decided to get intouch with a surgeon who will check and confirm if the stub of the pen was actually aspirated in his lungs and that was what has been causing all the cough, fever and infections. The surgeon came in and confirmed from the xray and a repeated CT Scan that the lobes had collapsed and the lungs had fluid and if from the history the stub was logged in the lungs the only way out is via surgery as it had stayed in my Son’s lungs for over 10 months and would have wrapped round the walls of the lungs.
The surgeon informed us that surgery cannot be done at the Reddington hospital both Ikeja and Victoria Island as there were no pediatric intensive unit in both locations and would want a situation where the boy would have to be transferred to somewhere else during surgery in case of any emergency.
We were referred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja and the surgery was done on the 13th November 2017. Surgery was successful after spending about 9 hours in surgery and was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 9 hours later.
He was put on induced coma for about 10 days so that he does not feel any pain as that was said to be the most painful surgery and he might go into shock if he feels the pain considering his age.
He was in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU) for 23 days before he passed on, on the 6th of December 2017.
Within the 23 days in the hospital, he did eat and went through 3 other procedures of Trichotomy, Th oracostomy and Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
He had cardiac arrest twice and he died from the 2nd one.
I and my husband slept in the car for 23 days at the LASUTH Ikeja as we cannot afford to leave the premises since we buy everything he needs ourselves from drugs to lab tests as the hospital does not provide anything. Our young daughters were pulled out of school as they had to stay with a family member who lives very far away from their school and was not convenient for her to bring them everyday. We also sold our car and took loans with high interest rate just to be able to pay for the hospital bill as he was on the ventilator and we paid N50,000 per day for him to stay in the ICU and we spent about a million naira on drugs and tests.
My husband and I did not work for 3 months as we had to stay with our son to give him the best support.
This kind of professional negligence cost my son his life and threw the entire family into perpetual grief as there are continuous reminders of the times with our son. For 10 months Oluwajimi suffered different ailments as a result of the aspirated foreign body which the medical personnel at Reddington hospital failed to identify. Another pointer to their inefficiency and murderous practice. The physical and emotional torture he was subjected to had robbed him of his vibrancy and the joy of life even before he passed on. At this point, he was constantly on antibiotics and had stopped participating in the schools sporting activities. He has been treated for asthma, pneumonia and all sorts. A stark and shocking revelation that medical practice in this hospital is trial and error.
This experience is a rude wake up call to the underlying dangers of living in this country. We are afraid of the medical dangers that may be lurking around the corner in the event that any other member of the family requires serious medical attention. Our two girls have since been afraid to visit any hospital as they are still traumatized by the events that unfolded with Jimi’s case.
Since Jimi’s referral to Lasuth and his eventual death Reddington Hospital never bothered to find out how our situation was, they showed no empathy, no remorse for the fact that they negligently failed to identify a foreign object in my son’s lungs for over 9 months. As we speak no doctor from Reddington has called us even though they know he is dead.
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