From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
A middle-aged man, Nwabueze Nwadike whose son, Gozie, died at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri late Thursday night was on Friday morning said to be beaten to a pulp by some officials of the Medical Centre.
But the spokesperson of the Medical Centre, Jacinta Achonu said the man injured himself while mourning his dead child and was not beaten by any official of the hospital.
In frustration, the man was reported to have stripped himself naked, carrying his dead son while marching in protest at the health facility.
Reports available to The Authority reveal two versions of the story but none seems good to conscience and humanity.
An eyewitness, Mrs Ijeoma Onyejiaku who spoke to our correspondent at the centre said that the man and his wife had brought in their ailing child on Thursday evening to the FMC for medical intervention and the child had died same night.
According to her “From what the man had been lamenting here, he said he demanded for his bill to be prepared so he can take his child away and bury but the usual FMC manner, the bill was not prepared on time.
In the morning, the delay continued and in anger, the man carried the corpse of his child and left. On getting to the main gate of the hospital, he was confronted by the hospital’s security men and apparently a fight ensued and his head was broken with blood spilling all over his body.
With the corpse of his child right there, and himself allegedly bloodied by the FMC security men, frustration set in and in protest, he stripped himself naked and marched all the way back to the Emergency Paediatric Unit (EPU) of the hospital where his baby died in protest of the alleged inhuman treatment meted out to him by the staff of FMC, Owerri.”
Another account of the incident given by Mr Jonathan Anyanwu, a staff of the Federal Medical Center was similar, the only difference being that the man who lost his baby had allegedly refused to pay his bills after the death of his child and wanted to leave with the corpse of his child but officials at the EPU had called the security men at the main gate to stop him from leaving and in the ensuing fracas, the man was wounded and bloodied.
In her own account, the Public Relations Officer of the FMC, Owerri, Jacinta Achonu said, “When the man brought in his sick child, the boy was almost white, it was very bad. We started treating him but later the child gave up the ghost. Later that morning, the man started crying, hitting himself and in the process he had wound. You know somebody that lost a dear one; immediately he heard it, he turned and his head hit somewhere. I can even show you where it happened.
“With that, he carried the child and headed for the gate and when the security men saw him, they thought he was a mad man trying to escape with a child, without knowing the child he was carrying was dead. When the security men accosted him, he now turned rushing back towards the mortuary. It was the FMC that eventually treated him before he left that same day.”
However, a heart-rending video of the man with blood stains, carrying his dead child evokes nothing but condemnation for the said reaction of the officials of the FMC to a man who just lost his child in their facility.
In the now trending video, the man had alleged that his child died about five minutes after he was injected by an official at the EPU and among other things, blamed the FMC for the death of his child.
Our correspondent gathered that the man’s lone protest drew a crowd of sympathizers most of who blamed the FMC for such extreme response to a man who was already in pain and heartbroken over the death of his child.
It took the intervention of the Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Owerri to mitigate the issue as the man was taken to the Casualty and Emergency Unit of the hospital where his injuries were treated at the facility.
It is not known whether he eventually paid before he and his wife were allowed to leave the medical centre with their dead child.
However, the Federal Medical Centre of recent has been a subject of public criticism based on alleged neglect of patients and non- availability of relevant medical facilities.