The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State zone, Benjamin Olowojebutu, says the Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA) should take responsibility and tender an apology in relation to the elevator death of Dr Diaso Vwaere.
Olowojebutu, speaking Friday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said, “I think the first thing I expected them (LASIAMA) to have done is to apologise for failing the system.
“I expected them since Tuesday to have written a very important apology letter that says, ‘Doctors in Lagos, we have failed you. We have murdered one of your members, we apologise.’ That is what a failing government will do, but today — nothing.”
Two weeks from completing her one-year housemanship programme, Vwaere died on Tuesday at the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island said to be caused by a mechanical failure of one of its elevators.
The NMA, in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that the late doctor was reportedly trapped in the elevator for more than 40 minutes before she was rescued.
On the breakfast show, Olowojebutu stated that the maintenance and control systems of the building are poorly structured.
“Apparently, the Managing Director (MD) of the hospital does not have a role in maintaining that building. You have a building in your facility you don’t have control over! I think it’s very wrong,” he said.
The NMA chairman also lamented the gap in bureaucratic processes resulting in a lack of accountability and enabling suppression in the system.
“They say LASIAMA are the ones in charge of the quarters, but they don’t answer to the medical director. There is no control, no collaboration, no accountability. I think it’s a procedural error, which is one of our recommendations.
“If you have a building in the hospital that houses medical doctors, the MD of that hospital should be in charge or should know about it or should get correspondence daily, maybe every month on maintenance.
He added that multiple lives would have been lost, adding that resident doctors should be fully aware of emergency authorities.
“The point is that if you want the doctors to live in a place, let the doctors be in charge of the place, maintain the place and give them the requisite understanding that these are people that they are answerable to,” he said.
“For me now, there is no supervision, Who are you accountable to? In that same building, there is no water, there is no light. They’ve complained multiple times to this agency, but the lack of accountability, the lassitude, and the fact that they commonise people’s complaints is painful.”
According to Olowojebutu, the association wants to use Vwaere’s demise to change the narrative of health care, the supervisory role, and the passion for the common man in the state to truly reflect the state slogan.
The NMA in Lagos declared an indefinite strike on Wednesday in three hospitals over the death of Vwaere.
While commiserating with her family and colleagues, the association also announced five days of mourning, while declaring several demands.
The state government on Wednesday sent its condolence to the family, stating that it was shocked by the death.
It also announced that an inquiry had commenced with officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Lagos State Safety Commission and certified Lift and Vertical Transportation Equipment experts.