A final year student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olaniyi Ashimi, died recently due to lack of good medical care at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, and the University College Hospital, Ibadan. His sister and friend share with TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN the circumstances leading to his death
How did you hear of his death?
I am Ajoke Ashimi, the younger sister of the late Olaniyi Ashimi. I am also a final year student of the Department of Soil Science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. I was beside him on his sickbed till he died.
What led to his hospitalisation?
He was involved in an accident on his way back from a conference. He broke his leg in the accident. He and the others were taken to the Federal Medical Centre and they treated his broken leg but didn’t do any further check-up. He was fine and playing until Thursday afternoon. The hospital where he was taken to doesn’t have any X-ray machine; so, the school intended to take all of them to Ijaye General Hospital (Abeokuta) for medical examination. He was the first person who was attended to. After he was brought back, he wasn’t breathing fine. The doctor requested a chest X-ray; so, we went back and I was told that they only did an X-ray on the leg because that was what the orthopaedic doctor wrote.
By the time I got back from the hospital, he was already on oxygen. So they said that he could go for the X-ray when he became stable. We wanted to take him to a private laboratory to have him examined but they said he couldn’t be moved because of his condition. We told them to transfer him to smaller oxygen (cylinder) where we would be able to move him around but they didn’t oblige our request. It was in the evening when the Students Union officials came and disturbed them that the doctors came to attend to them. It was then that they brought in their experienced doctors. The student doctors were the ones treating him and others before the students came for a showdown.
Why was he placed on oxygen?
They did some examinations without an X-ray and discovered that he had fluid in his chest; probably, he hit his chest on something during the accident. They did a bi-lateral operation on him; they removed the fluid in his chest that was around midnight. I was running around to get the materials that were used in treating him. After extracting the fluid in his chest, he was still having difficulty in breathing and they said he would need a brain scan. The following morning, we asked about where we could have the scan and they told us we should either go to BABCOCK University Teaching Hospital, (Ilishan, Ogun State) or the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (Idi-Araba, Lagos).
At what point was he referred to the UCH, Ibadan?
So, I went to the Dean of Student Affairs to tell him what was happening. The school decided that we should take him to the school’s ICU because it had the facilities needed for the treatment and to stabilise him. He was placed on oxygen there. When his condition didn’t improve, they decided to refer him to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, perhaps because his lungs had collapsed and because he hit his head again something during the accident.
He was transferred to the UCH for a lung and brain surgery. The school placed a call to the UCH for an ambulance. When an ambulance didn’t come after a long wait, and we couldn’t use the FUNAAB ambulance, I had to go and pay for the FMC ambulance. After payment, I was told that the ambulance that had fuel had no oxygen and the one that had oxygen had no fuel. Eventually, they found one that had fuel and oxygen. Inside the ambulance, there were too oxygen cylinders; one was full and the other wasn’t. The one that was full was leaking while the other one would not be sufficient to sustain him till we got to Ibadan.
In the midst of all those dramas, I paid for extra oxygen but rather than supply that, they decided to use the one that was half-filled without letting us know. I thought they carried the extra one I paid for but they didn’t. My dad even suggested that they should fix the leaking gas that the other one would not be enough but they didn’t listen to him.
They chose to use an amble bag instead. When we got to the UCH, they didn’t attend to him on time despite the fact that we had called them ahead of our arrival. When the doctor came down and we talked to him, it was then that he saw that his breathe was weak that he rushed him into the emergency unit instead of an ICU unit. We requested oxygen because that was what he was using to breathe but they also didn’t have. By the time they saw one small one, he had died. My brother really fought for life but the poor state of the country’s medical facilities killed him.
Has he been buried?
Yes, he was buried the next day which was on Saturday.
Watching your brother die must have been painful. Could you describe how you felt that day?
They were crazy days; I felt seriously angry within me but couldn’t burst out because of my dad. I had to be strong for him because he’s dealing with high blood pressure before the accident happened.
He spoke to me on that Wednesday and he looked fine. He was the one narrating the story to the professors and all that came. He was still joking with one of the professors; everything changed on Thursday afternoon.
What was the last thing he said to you?
The last time I spoke to him was at the X-ray venue when he was complaining about pains. It is really annoying to know that my brother died in such a painful manner. When he was returned to the FMC from the State Hospital, Ijaye, I was still at the X-ray lab because I had to wait to get the remaining X- ray files. By the time I got to the FMC, he was already struggling with the oxygen and trying to remove it. We had to hold his hands before they came and tied his hands to the bed after which he became unconscious.
How come you are in the same level and studying the same course?
We gained admission at the same time into the same university. Although he was older than me, he sat for the UTME like five times. The last one we sat for, we picked same school but different departments but ended up in the same department.
How was his academic performance in school?
He was brilliant. Academically, he was an average student but outside academics, he was a very good chap.
What are those things he was good at doing?
He was freelancing as an IT specialist. He was also a business person. You can’t be around him and not be impacted positively. He was still in my hostel on Tuesday before they went for the conference on Wednesday.
He shared some business ideas with me and we planned on executing them next January. I was supposed to attend the conference too but I couldn’t because I had a job that I was to deliver the following week. Also, my cousin’s naming ceremony was also on Wednesday. So, we planned that I should go there while he would go for the conference. I didn’t know that was going to be the end.
How are your parents taking it?
They are coping but I am not sure they can get over it anytime soon. It came as a huge blow to them. We are doing everything possible to make them forget.
How old was he?
He was 26 years old this May.
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