By Jonathan Ugbal
Patients in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) may be more than merely excited at the prospects of the court finding the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Thomas Agan and sentencing him to a long term in jail CrossRiverWatch findings reveal.
Since a Federal High Court sitting in Calabar on Monday, April 3, 2017 remanded Dr. Agan and 4 others at the Afokang prison, investigations have revealed that services improved almost immediately at the facility.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the facility had become a den for robbers and thieves who break in and cart away patient’s belongings without hindrance while infrastructure had decayed with the arrest of the CMD and four other administrative staff pushing others to begin the renovation of some parts of the hospital which had stopped earlier.
A patient who spoke with our correspondent when we visited the facility lamented the situation being faced by patients.
“They can’t steal my thing. One thief entered the ward I am in by after 2am on Good Friday. Today things were stolen from Nurses room…. The security woman said the thieves went upstairs and stole phones from female medical ward,” the patient texted on April 19.
“I am in a private room so nobody can enter there. The guy that came to steal the door of the private room was caught. He removed the door. Its (sic) like he knows how to fix and remove glass doors.
“A nurse is even complaining that a baby was stolen in post natal ward. Some months ago, some guys robbed A&E (Accident and Emergency). They even came with guns and nothing was done about it.
“Hmmm, the way they are stealing I can’t tell whether the nurses are involved. Well the things that are happening in this hospital…. I am just wondering if the CMD, CMAC and others are sleeping.”
On the remand of Agan in Afokang prison, another patient said: “He deserves it. The nurses told me. Before now, private rooms had TV, fridge, water in the bathroom, sockets that are working, curtain, bulb, but now, there is nothing.”
She continued: “When they arrested him. They started painting the hospital. Rushing as if there is no tomorrow. They changed all the bulbs, started giving light with generator.
“Meanwhile he has been there all these years. Nurses use torch to work. There was a day they used torch for surgery. I was there I saw it myself, No gen! Emergency theater. So for me, I am so happy, they can keep him in prison for ever.
“EFCC should collect everything he has used hospital money to do. Maybe those people begging don’t come here for treatment or don’t have relatives who have come here for treatment. I have been coming to this hospital for many years, even when it was at Moore road. Things were OK before he was made CMD.”
Also, another patient lamented that beds were in short supply with some in the second bay “old beds that are not even good.
“The pharmacy is just there. Sometimes at night when there is a serious case, the doctors prescribe, you go to UCTH pharmacy and they tell you go to BEZ pharmacy, but they are collecting money from patients anyhow.
“Before now, patients pay 200 at Outpatient side before seeing a doctor. Dr. Agan increased it to 1,000. Folders are no more free, you pay 500.
“Before now, if a patient is going for surgery. The patient doesn’t pay for theatre gown. But Dr. Agan came and patients started paying N5,000 not even N1,000 for theater gown.
“Lab is not functioning well. If they manage to collect samples they just copy anything and give as result. It has happened to me twice. I do all medical examinations at Asi Ukpo now. The doctors always say, please go to Asi Ukpo.”
Another patient alleged that: “They came on 3rd of April and started sharing food. They said it’s compulsory for all the patients. I told them I won’t eat. They went and gave report and sent a lawyer to ask me questions.
“Somebody was discharged today in the ward I am in and the bill for the food from 3rd till yesterday (April 18) is N25,300.
“They dispose waste in the compound and burn. They don’t know it’s a hospital and they may have patients with asthma. Apart from asthma, It is air pollution and it is not good.
“Let him enjoy prison,” the patient said.
Several visits to the hospital for comments from the management have not yielded fruits with our correspondent always referred to “the management,” or “the HOD,” or “the CMAC” who were always not on seat as at the time of visit with their subordinates refusing to release their mobile phone numbers.
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