UCTH rejects ‘death trap’ social media allegation

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The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has said that contrary to reports in the social media that the hospital was a ‘death trap’ and that it allegedly caused the death of a patient on Monday, the hospital did everything medically possible to save the life of the man who was said to have severe respiratory distress.

Recall that social media was awash few days ago with reports with headline ‘UCTH: Deathtrap or a Hospital?’ but the management of the hospital described the report as ‘biased,’ saying efforts to resuscitate the man had proven useless.

The hospital management said the deceased had collapsed near a bank facility while trying to withdraw money from an ATM machine, and was rushed to the hospital but that he gave up the ghost despite efforts by medical Doctors on ground to resuscitate him.

In a press release made available to PillarToday, on Saturday, the hospital said: “A 58year old male patient was rushed to the Emergency Department of UCTH on Monday 4th May 2020, at 7 pm with a history of generalized body weakness and breathlessness. He had collapsed outside the hospital while attempting to withdraw money from an ATM along Marian Road, Calabar. He was subsequently brought to our hospital.

“On duty, that evening, in fact, was a medical doctor who was the patient’s personal friend. His vital signs at presentation were grossly deranged and he had an oxygen saturation (SPO2) of 53 percent. Please note that an oxygen saturation (SPO2) of less than 95 percent is evidence of severe tissue hypoxia and associated with a very poor prognosis.

“Records also show he was in severe respiratory distress with a respiratory rate of 46 cycles per minute. He was therefore in extremis with a very poor prognosis at the time of presentation. He was promptly attended to, and a clinical diagnosis of Myocardial Infarction was made.

“An intravenous line was set up; normal saline, adrenaline, hydrocortisone, and oxygen were all given and the medical team called/invited to evaluate him, while efforts to resuscitate him continued. However, he kept gasping and died by 7.30 pm, when all resuscitative efforts failed.

“At some point in his resuscitation, there were four medical doctors on this patient. The patient was therefore well attended to within the very short period he was in the Hospital. Patients with massive acute cardiovascular events such as this hardly make it even in the best centres all over the world.

“This patient was not able to talk and his history was given by his wife. We have insisted on an autopsy on this index case.

“The author (of the social media publication) claimed that ‘the shortest way to the grave now in Cross River state is to send someone to the teaching hospital for treatment.’ Our statistics tell a different story.

“There were 164,558 patients attending our Hospital in 2019 with 11,584 admissions. The percentage of our mortality rate is 0.5% when we consider total Hospital visits and at worst 7% when we consider admissions only. These rates are lower than the mortality rates of similar facilities (range: 9-30%) in Nigerian studies. Criticism must be factual and constructive.

“The Management of UCTH recognizes that some staff may not adhere to the high ethical standards required in Medicine and the allied professions. Bad habits cultivated over a long time may not change suddenly. We recognize that we are a work in progress, but are determined to make the difficult decisions that will create a modern health service for our people.

“Our staff knows that with this Management, there are assured consequences for bad and/or unethical behaviour, and there are no sacred cows. Clinicians and non-clinicians have been queried and sanctioned for bad conduct in the last one year.

“As a hospital, we are determined and will continue to work to improve our processes and systems for the benefit of our people. The author admitted that the environment is more aesthetically appealing. This was not the case 2 years ago. The result of working on attitudes may take some time to manifest. The good news is that the majority of our staff are decent professionals. We will continue to engage with our staff, train and re-train, motivate, and inspire while holding people to account until we create a critical mass that will serve our interests.

“As a Hospital, we are determined and will continue to work to improve our processes and systems for the benefit of our people. We will continue to engage with our staff, train and re-train, motivate, and inspire while holding people to account until we create a critical mass that will serve our interests. Members of the public are please advised to always confirm information before rushing to social media.”

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