A tragic elevator accident which led to the untimely and tragic death of Diasco Vwaere, a junior doctor in the midst of her housemanship at General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island, has ignited public outrage among the medical community and citizens alike. The incident occurred when an elevator malfunctioned, causing it to plummet ten floors, leading to the loss of the young doctor’s life.
Outraged doctors are demanding justice for their fallen colleague and calling for accountability from the hospital administration. This unfortunate accident has shed light on the General Hospital’s history of safety issues, which doctors had previously warned could lead to a tragedy if swift actions were not taken.
Several months ago, a group of doctors wrote a letter to the hospital administration, expressing concern about the unsafe condition of the elevators. Additionally, the Medical Guild had brought the matter to the attention of prominent health authorities in Lagos State in 2020. The doctors’ quarters in the hospital have a non-functional elevator and lack running water, making it a challenging living condition for medical professionals, including pregnant women who have to climb multiple flights of stairs daily.
Diasco Vwaere, who was only two weeks away from completing her housemanship, was a recent graduate of Babcock University. Witnesses described the harrowing scene when the accident happened, emphasizing that it took an hour to rescue her from the malfunctioning elevator. She remained conscious despite sustaining fractures but tragically lost her life due to delays in receiving medical attention, including a shortage of blood for resuscitation.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed deep disappointment over the incident and emphasized that the young doctor’s death was preventable. The association mourns the loss and condemns the hospital’s failure to address safety concerns, despite previous complaints and warnings. They are demanding an independent investigation into the accident and are urging accountability for those responsible.
In a statement issued by the NMA chairman, Benjamin Olowojebutu, and the secretary, Ismail Ajibowo, the association declared a five-day statewide mourning period and presented a list of demands:
An immediate, unbiased investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident.
Accountability and justice for all those found culpable, including the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Ms. Adenike Adekambi.
Commencement of an indefinite strike by doctors in the three government hospitals on the island until the investigations are completed and justice is served.
Scaling down activities in all other government hospitals for the next five days as a mark of respect for their deceased colleague. Only emergency services will be provided during this period.
Urgent overhaul of the house officers’ quarters on the island and prompt repairs of all other infrastructures in government hospitals that require attention.
Immediate revamping of the blood transfusion system in Lagos State to ensure improved services.
The death of Diasco Vwaere has dealt another blow to Nigeria’s medical workforce and has spurred the medical community to demand urgent and effective measures to prevent such tragic accidents in the future. The nation mourns the loss of a promising young doctor and hopes that her death will not be in vain, but rather, a catalyst for real change and accountability within the healthcare system.
The incident has raised questions about the safety standards in healthcare facilities across the country. It highlights the urgency of addressing long-standing issues that medical professionals have been grappling with, including the poor condition of infrastructure and the lack of critical resources like blood supply.
While doctors are often regarded as saviors, it is essential to remember that they, too, are vulnerable and deserve a safe working environment. The loss of Diasco Vwaere is a reminder of the sacrifices made by medical professionals in their pursuit of saving lives and serving their communities. It underscores the pressing need for the government and relevant authorities to take immediate action in ensuring the safety and well-being of healthcare workers.
Nigeria’s healthcare system has long been plagued by challenges, including brain drain, inadequate funding, and a shortage of medical personnel. The tragic accident involving Diasco Vwaere further highlights the urgent need for comprehensive reforms in the healthcare sector.
The demands of the Nigerian Medical Association are not unfounded; they represent the collective voice of doctors who have faced numerous obstacles while trying to deliver quality healthcare to Nigerians. The lack of accountability for safety issues in medical facilities raises concerns about the commitment of authorities to protect and support healthcare professionals adequately.
As the nation mourns the loss of Diasco Vwaere, it must also come to terms with the systemic issues that contributed to her tragic death. The medical community’s demand for justice and accountability is a call to action for the government to prioritize the well-being of its medical workforce and the citizens they serve.
In the wake of this devastating incident, the Nigerian government must heed the call for an independent investigation and act swiftly to address the safety concerns raised by doctors. Transparent and effective measures must be put in place to prevent similar accidents and to provide a safer environment for medical professionals.