‘I should have died instead’ – First Consultant boss recounts losses

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The Chief Medical Director of First Consultant Hospital, Dr Benjamin Ohiaeri, has recounted the huge loss his hospital suffered in the wake of the recent Ebola epidermic in Nigeria. Dr Ohiaeri says he wonders why he did not die along with his staff who contracted the deadly viral disease. He said this while receiving former Governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, who came to commiserate with the hospital over their huge loss.

“The events of the past months have been very overwhelming to say the least. I have refrained from speaking all these while because I wanted to tell my story in a sequential manner. We have lost a lot of things-our laboratory, laundry, nursing room, monitoring line- name it. But none of these compares to the human resource losses. When people come here and ask me how much equipment we have lost, I say to them that the most important equipment to me are the people. I recall that some of my colleagues with who we took decisions together are now late. I cannot understand it. I wonder why I am still alive and not dead? I wonder why the dead are not like me?”

The distraught CMD went on to reveal how his organization lost four out of the seven deaths from the deadly viral disease in Lagos

“Here in Lagos, we lost seven people as a result of Mr Sawyer’s bio-terrorism and four of such deaths were staff of First Consultant hospital. That means we bore the brunt of the disease for the country. Look at Dr Adadevoh for instance, here is a doctor that use to take care of me because I was hypertensive. She used to give me my drugs weekly but before this Ebola experience, she gave me a dosage that was to last me a month. Then I said to her” its like I have graduated now to taking one month dose” and we laughed over it. She had her son in this hospital and I was the one who took the delivery. Look at Dr Abaniwo, who died before Dr Adadevoh. He was with us for four years. He contracted the virus when he went over to intervene when Mr Sawyer was harassing Dr Adadevoh at a time he(Sawyer) had become angry and restive. Evelyn was a widow and a nurse with four children. Very humble, loyal and diligent. She was with us when Dr Adadevoh was delivered of her baby. She was the first person who welcomed Sawyer. She was part of this institution. Her death was heartbreaking. It was devastating. Soon after her death, the landlord threw her children out of their home. And we are doing all we can to take care of them. We have got them an accommodation and they have settled in. For Dr Adadevoh, she worked with me for 21years. She was a smart professional who I took as my number 1 person. Look at Dr Ada Igonor, who survived the epidemic. I have adopted her as my daughter. She started work here on July 1st 2014, 20 days before the arrival of Mr Sawyer. It was Dr Adadevoh who brought her here. At the isolation center, she was two beds away from Dr Adadevoh. Yet she was the one monitoring everyone in the hospital and giving us reports on hourly basis. That helped us to know what package to bring to them and every line of action to take. Infact, it was right in her arm that our own late Nurse Justina died” he said

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