Foul odour emanating from a decomposing corpse at the Accident and Emergency Clinic, Orile-Agege General Hospital, Lagos, on Monday, prevented medical workers from attending to patients at the clinic and wards attached to it.
Rather, patients were treated outside a large shed where new patients queued to collect cards before they were eventually taken to different wards for further attention.
When our correspondent visited the hospital on Monday morning, the doors of the clinic, which is located close to the Pharmacy Unit, had been locked and a male ward attendant in purple uniform was seen mopping the lobby with disinfectant. The nurses evicted from their station were also seen shouting at people not to open the door.
A patient who was relocated to the Surgery Ward said it took hospital officials more than two hours to evacuate the corpse.
“I came in here around 5am and there was no power supply at the time. The generator was also not working at the time, but there was no odour. I was already on a drip inside the ward when this foul odour hit the ward. In a matter of minutes, we were all asked to leave the ward. My drip was detached and condemned by the nurses.
“We were all taken outside and we sat on the benches by the Pharmacy Unit. It took them more than two hours to decide what to do with the corpse. I was later dispatched to the Surgery Ward, while others were taken to the Casualty Ward,” he said.
When contacted, the Medical Director, Dr. Afusat Tijani, refused to talk to our correspondent. “I am not allowed to talk to the press,” she simply said.
However, a source who did not want to be quoted because of civil service rule said the corpse was ‘a coroner’s case.’ The source denied that the corpse had been left unattended for three days.
“What happened was that the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit was supposed to have evacuated the corpse, but they said they did not have fuel to get here. The corpse was a coroner case and there was nothing we could have done. SEHMU only came to pick the corpse this morning.
“Patients are being attended to at the moment. The affected section was just the clinic and the patients were taken to another place pending the time disinfection would be completed. We usually wait for 24 hours after disinfecting an area before patients would be allowed to go back there,” said the source.