The life of a pregnant woman may have been saved if the doctor that was to operate on her was not allegedly held by policemen enforcing the curfew in place to restrict movement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the surgeon was held for about one hour on Airport Road, Ikeja, Lagos State, as entreaties that she was on an emergency call, fell on deaf ears.
After she was released, the doctor reportedly got to the hospital and discovered that both the pregnant woman and her to-be child were dead.
Our correspondent was told that the incident happened on Monday, August 31, 2020, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Surulere.
The deceased was identified only as Mistura.
Prior to last Thursday, the police enforced a nationwide curfew from 10pm till 4am.
However, medical workers, journalists, and other essential service providers were exempted from the curfew.
A witness, who did not want to be identified, said the female doctor broke down in tears upon seeing that she could not save Mistura and her baby.
The witness said, “The doctor is a woman. In fact, she was also ill and was placed on a drip at home when she was called for the emergency.
“Because her car was bad, she got a cabman to take her to the hospital. She left her house around past 9pm.
“Around 10.15pm, they got to the under bridge around Airport Road, where they met the policemen. They had been stopped by other policemen before they got to that spot. But when she showed them her ID card, they allowed her to pass.
“But these ones refused. After she showed one of them her ID card and said she was on an emergency to see a patient who was between life and death, the policeman ordered the driver to park. He took her ID card and asked her to prove she was on an emergency.
“She went to meet another member of the team and begged him that she needed to leave immediately and that the life of her patient was at risk. She was in a nightgown; she could not even change when she got the call. But the second policeman shunned her.
“The policeman said she was foolish and she was a prostitute because a doctor would never dress the way she was dressed. She begged them and explained the circumstances but they refused to listen and demanded the emergency letter.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that after keeping the doctor for about one hour, she was released.
However, our correspondent was told that it was already late, as the patient had died.
It was learnt that the patient was initially admitted to a private facility, where attempts were made to deliver her of the baby.
When the case got complicated, she was referred to LUTH, where she died after suffering internal bleeding.
“There were four policemen on duty that night. Only one was on mufti. Their tags were not visible because they wore overalls. They saw the drip in the doctor’s hand; she was risking her life to save another person but they never allowed her,” the source added.
Our source said efforts by the doctor to call a phone number on the policemen’s van were abortive.
The number, 09051614394, which a phone application, True Caller, identified as OPS Office Air, was not reachable for about three days that our correspondent tried it.
A spokesman for LUTH, Kelechi Otuneme, promised to react after speaking to a consultant at the hospital.
He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
The Public Relations Officer of the Airport Police Command, Alabi Joseph, expressed shock at the incident and promised to investigate it.
A senior police officer, who did not speak on record, however, said the doctor could have raised the suspicion of the cops as she was not properly dressed.