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How UNIBEN’s negligence, delay caused student’s death

Austin Okafor, a 300 level student of Entrepreneurship at the University of Benin, has died as a result of alleged lackadaisical attitude and negligence of the management of the institution, our findings have revealed.

CAMPUS REPORTER gathered that Mr Okafor, a sickle cell patient lost his life on October 2 at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) following health complications which had disrupted his examination.

Sources told our correspondent that his death was caused by the delay at the end of the management who made clearance compulsory before giving medical attention to students.

An eyewitness and student of the institution, Timothy Agwu, told CAMPUS REPORTER that the deceased had gone to the Health Centre on October 2 for medical attention and was referred to the Uniben Teaching Hospital.

“He died due to the negligence of the school management, Mr Agwu. “He went to the health centre for medical attention but was referred to the university teaching hospital having discovered that he was urinating blood. Despite the pathetic situation, the ambulance taking him to UBTH was stopped at the Division of Students Affairs for clearance permit.”

Another student who spoke with CAMPUS REPORTER under the condition of anonymity for fear of suspension said it took the Division of Students Affairs 35 minutes to issue clearance permit before the deceased could be taken to UBTH.

He said, “We learnt he would not be attended to without the clearance permit from the Division of Students Affairs. On getting to the Teaching Hospital, he was left alone at the Accident and Emergency Ward for another 15 minutes without any Doctor attending to him. This was followed by students agitation”.

CAMPUS REPORTER further learnt that Mr Okafor later died at the ward due to late medical attention and efforts to save him by the doctors proved abortive.

“His corpse was later taken to the Mortuary,” the source said.

A member of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) who also pleaded anonymity because he works in the school said that the death was caused by negligence.

“The deceased would have survived but you know the delay in the system,” said the staff. “Even if he will later die, he should have treated with emergency.”

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in a statement signed by its President, Bamidele Danielson on Saturday condemned in totality, the way and manner the University and Hospital management handled this case.

Mr Danielson said: “It is so pathetic that due to the insensitivity of the University of Benin Health Care Centre, we lost another promising youngster. Among the responsibilities of the school, management is to protect and advance the interests of her students which include the delivery of high-quality health care services which unfortunately we are not enjoying even as students.”

The students demanded that the school management should immediately set up a committee to investigate the evitable death of Mr Okafor who obviously happened to be a victim of ‘failed system’.

When contacted, the spokesman of the University, Micheal Osasuyi told CAMPUS REPORTER in a telephone interview that the death was not caused by anybody

“It is very unfortunate,” he said. “We were made to understand that the student was a sickle cell student. Knowing the complex nature of the sickness, he was attended to at the health centre and later referred to UBTH.”

“The sudden nature of death is not predicated upon any premise. When the child was at the health centre, he was attended to and when they saw that he needed referer, he was referred to UBTH.”

Mr Osasuyi was however silent on the case that the deceased was delayed to get a clearance permit before heading to UBTH.

The case at UNIBEN was a bad example of what is obtainable in many Nigerian institutions.

Just last month in the University of Abuja, Precious Joshua, a 100 level student of the university died due to poor implementation of mandatory National Health Insurance Policy for students.

CAMPUS REPORTER gathered that the inability of the school clinic to offer her emergency treatment caused her death at the university teaching hospital after futile efforts by doctors.

In May, a final year Pharmacy student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Yusuf Abidoye, died of abdominal pain.

His close friend, Oluwasanya Akanmu, a 500-Level Pharmacy student, recounted how the deceased battled to stay alive, blaming Mr Yusuf’s death on the then Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) strike.

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