Public outrage on Wednesday greeted news of the death of a young woman Moradeun Balogun who was stabbed by armed robbers and allegedly denied treatment by a Lagos hospital.
It was gathered that the robbery incident occurred Monday evening while the lady, a podcast host, was returning from work.
She was said to have been stabbed on the neck by her attackers and was rushed to R. Jolad Hospital located at New Garage, 1, Akindele Road, Gbagada, where she died on Tuesday morning following the hospital’s alleged refusal to commence treatment without a police report.
The Nation reports that many Nigerians have lost their lives in such circumstances despite legal provisions mandating hospitals in the country to prioritise saving lives above every other thing.
The right to life is a constitutional right as provided for in Section 33(1). Then, Section 20 of the National Health Act, 2014 clearly states that a healthcare provider, health worker or establishment shall not refuse a person on emergency treatment for any reason.
Violation of the law attracts a fine of N100,000 or a jail term of six months or both. Aside this law, the federal government in 2017 enacted the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act which provides in Section 11, a five-year jailterm or N500,000 fine or both for any authority or person whose omission results in the unnecessary death of a gunshot victim.
Section One of the same law mandates hospitals to receive and treat victims of gunshot wounds with or without police clearance and with or without initial deposit but to ensure that a report is made at the nearest police station within two hours of commencement of treatment. The law also provides that the High Court of the State or Federal High Court (FCT) can in addition to the punishment, award compensation to the victim’s family.
Contacted, the hospital denied the allegation insisted that the woman was assessed by two doctors and immediately referred to General Hospital Gbagada for vascular surgery.
The hospital’s report sent to our Correspondent said: “At R-Jolad hospital, our primary purpose has always been to save lives each time we encounter both difficult and less difficult situations. We do this for all sort of cases and all sort of people including *gunshot victims* without requesting for any police report as a requirement to be met before attending to the case.
“The most recent example (reflecting our intervention protocol) at hand was about a patient that was rushed to our facility on emergency yesterday December 2.
“In the first place, the patient was not a victim of gunshot. It was a stabbed wound. Below is the detail:
“The patient was brought in by four good Samaritans around 07:19 pm and was attended to by two doctors whose assessment indicated that the patient needed immediate attention of a vascular surgeon.
“The patient was therefore referred to the closest hospital, Gbagada General Hospital in one of the available vehicles at the spot since the ambulance was yet to return from a medical assignment. The vehicle departed exactly 07:26pm. Further findings and follow up revealed that the patient was received in Gbagada General Hospital.
“We remain true and committed to our core values which place premium and value on human lives.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command has urged the deceased’s family to come forward with necessary information, evidence that would aid investigation.
Spokesman Bala Elkana told The Nation that police report was not a requirement to treat victims of gunshot or any injury at all.
He said: “There must not be police clearance at the time an injured person is brought to a hospital. Their duty is to receive and safe lives first and then report to police within two hours. It is no longer an excuse that there is no police clearance.
“Some of gunshot victims maybe innocent bystanders. Even if it is an armed robber, the law presumes all innocent until proven guilty. The police have made clear statements on several occasions about this.
“The IG has consistently warned that on no account should any hospital reject a victim for lack of police report. A public statement was issued in this regard. Hospitals have a duty to accept emergency cases and treat them.
“We encourage the deceased’s family to come forward with details of what happened in this case. We are advising hospitals to be guided by the laws of the land and ensure that their primary duty is to save lives. Saving lives come first before law enforcement because the person has to be alive to answer for his or her charges.”
Knocks for hospital
Nigerians who condemned the alleged action of the hospital, demanded the place be shutdown and its owners, staff on duty prosecuted.
Her friend Emmanuel Olabode who shared the information wrote: “Nigeria is designed to kill you. Lost a friend who was robbed and stabbed this morning but was denied treatment unless a police report was provided. R. Jolad Hospital (New garage, 1 Akindele Road, Gbagada, Lagos) are you happy now?”
Trending the #justiceformoradeun and #shutdownRjoladhospital many social media users seized the opportunity to narrate how they lost loved ones in similar circumstances.
One Harri Obi said that was how his younger brother died in 2016, wondering why the police report matter was still a criteria in 2019.
“This was exactly how my younger brother lost his life in 2016. No difference! Three years later and we’re still on this ‘Police Report’ matter. If you’re a young person and you have the means to leave this country, please do it. This country is out to murder you.”
Another user @mcmuchacha
wondered why the hospital would lay emphasis on a paper when an emergency was before it. “Someone is taking her last breath inside your stupid hospital and you’re there requesting for police report? Are you having a special kind of stupidity or what?
“Government has failed us in every aspect. They’ve made patriotism a regretful thing. I still don’t get it?”
Those who knew Balogun reminisced about her wonderful nature, describing her as a kind and pure soul.
Expressing shock over the news of her demise, Seun Olagunju said: “How is Moradeun dead? My God, I’m in denial. Moradeuuuuuun. You were such a good person! They took you from us too soon. Rest in Peace, Moradeun. You will be sorely missed, but the memories you left with us will always be fond.
“I am so sad and my hands are shaking. Moradeun, it really should not have been you. This one hits too close to home. How? Moradeuuuun. Your legacy will live on and you will never be forgotten. Thank you for shinning your light so bright. I love you deeply.”
Desola said: “She was robbed.
She was stabbed on the neck.
She was rushed to the hospital.
She was not treated because a police report could not be provided.
She died in the process.
She gets justice.”
Adekahunsi Ayotomiwa said:
“Nigeria has perfected a system of killing and suppressing the good ones and elevating and empowering the bad ones. #justiceformoradeun.”
Deji Asiru-Balogun wrote: “We are all Moradeun. Do not wait for the day you will be unable to tweet anymore.
Lagos’ insecurity level killed her. Nigeria failed that lady.
“Moradeun just wanted to flourish. In no way did she try to diminish others
Yet, Nigeria finished her.
Every single day, another Moradeun is killed. By the system.
This is unsustainable.”
To @Arabylaide, Nigerians must not be quiet as justice must prevail for the deceased.
One @Ijeoma wrote: “This police report thing is shitty. Why can’t they just do the necessary first aid, at least to get the person stable before they start asking for it? I pray she gets justice.”
Eniola Havoc said: “The whole of yesterday I had been awake for hours just working relentlessly from the previous day, hoping I’d get some rest at some point. Then I got the call late in the night. I have been broken and unable to find sleep, I pray she finds rest.”
Moduroti Oluwa said: “Nigerian hospitals need to stop all these asking for police report when a severely injured person is rushed into their hospitals.
Charles Esomojumi said: “This is just heart wrenching…How did we ever get here as a country? An R-Jolad Hospital doctor denies a dying armed robbery attack victim treatment because he feels getting a police report is more important? This is SAD! RIP Moradeun.”
Nnamdi said: “I said this weeks ago. How can you watch life get snuffed out of a fellow human, because you didn’t see police report? Would a police report save an injured person? The uncaring inhumane attitude of health professionals in Nigeria is a big disaster.”
Reni said: “One needs to start walking with #Police Report in Nigeria as of now.
The hospital that refused to treat the deceased should be shut down forthwith. Regardless of whatever law is in place, saving human lives should be the primus of medical practitioners.
“It is quite preposterous to have demanded for a police report in such emergency. Everything in Nigeria will kill you: The police, the hospital, the transportation cost, SARS, Agberos…
Let’s just declare this nation lawless. Back to the state of nature where everything is brutal, nasty.”
Nanya said: “That was how my mother died. Because of a stupid freaking paper! What is the purpose of police reports? That day, I cursed the hospital, the police force, and this country. You demand police reports when our police system is not in order?…”