Enugu patient who tested negative for coronavirus dies ‘from stigmatisation’

Enugu patient who tested negative for coronavirus dies ‘from stigmatisation’
March 18
12:29 2020

The patient who tested negative to coronavirus in Enugu is dead — but she might have survived if she had not been treated like an outcast, according to a protest letter signed by “a very heartbroken daughter”.

The letter was addressed to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor.

A group called “Concerned Health Workers in Enugu State” has, however, countered her claims, maintaining that the woman was well attended to and that the isolation centre was in good condition.

In the letter, she accused the staff of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Colliery Parklane, where the woman was isolated, of “wrong treatment and stigmatisation”.

The unnamed woman had been wrongly reported as being positive in a social media post but it turned out she was negative after she was tested.

The “daughter” alleged that her late mother, who returned to Nigeria after a five-month trip to the UK to visit her children, was isolated in an abandoned and old section of the hospital.

She accused the staff of the hospital of being unprofessional in the way and manner her mother was treated, which, according to her, made the deceased feel worthless.

A stretcher at ESUTH, shared by the unidentified daughter

“I am writing on behalf of myself and family in regards to the 70-year-old woman suspected of the Covid-19 in Enugu published on Saturday 14th March 2020,” the letter read.

“The patient who is my mother, unfortunately, passed away on Sunday 15th March 2020 having tested negative to the aforementioned virus.

“My mother was isolated in a dilapidated environment that seems to have been left uninhabitable over a long period of time. The isolation centre in Enugu is an abandoned old section of the hospital, where the grass and debris were being cleared whilst my mother was there.

“The staff at the hospital were unprofessional in the way they handled my mother. She was stigmatized and this made her feel worthless.

“My mother arrived at the hospital on Friday 13th March, 2020, blood samples were collected on Saturday 14th March, 2020 with results expected on Monday 16th March, 2020.”

She said the deceased spent “three days in dire situation without adequate health care”.

“If the result for Covid-19 was ascertained on time, my mother would still be here with us, as she would have been moved to a better-equipped hospital with the right experts to deal with her underlying illnesses,” she said.

“My mother died due to the negligence and unpreparedness of the state in putting adequate facilities including staff training in place. The new strand of the coronavirus was detected back in December 2019 and it is absolutely disappointing that there is no appropriate isolation centre in Enugu State.

“After the death of my mother, finding a workable stretcher to move her body was impossible! My mother’s body was carried into the ambulance on a wretched tool.”

She noted that the N20 million released by the state government for the management of the isolation centre after the news of the suspected case “came a little too late” as appropriate measures and faciilitres should have been put in place before then.

The ESUTH isolation centre, according to the “daughter”

She said: “It should not have taken my mother’s suspected case to prompt an action from the government. As l write this, l am sure that no plans has been made for any future case of Covid-19 despite the promised allocated funds.

“In conclusion, l would like to reiterate that the environment of the isolation centre, staff behaviour and the unpreparedness of the Enugu state government resulted to my mother’s unexpected death.

“The objective of this letter is to make sure that no other person will have to go through what my mother went through. I am therefore appealing to the governor of Enugu state to ensure that the funds allocated to the isolation centre is rightly used for the purpose for which it was meant for.”

In their response, the “Concerned Health Workers in Enugu State” wrote this letter reproduced below.

Facts about the 70-year-old woman in Enugu earlier suspected of COVID-19 infection and the wicked blackmail by her so called daughter

With utter dismay, our attention has been drawn to the mischievous allegation of negligence trending on social media, being peddled by the purported daughter of the 70-year-old woman who was suspected to have been infected with Corona Virus – COVID-19 in Enugu, but tested NEGATIVE after a confirmed investigation at IRUA Specialist Hospital, Edo State.

As health workers in Enugu, we state that we have basic knowledge of what transpired as well as the high level commitment of the medical doctors and other personnel who worked tirelessly to manage the woman, that was first REJECTED by all federal medical institutions in Enugu, before she was accepted by the ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu.

On this note, we commend the Enugu State Government for not joining issues with the so-called daughter of the woman who deliberately did not write her name, in her immoral, insensitive and baseless vituperations against the state and integrity of our medical profession (if truly she was the one that wrote the mischievous letter to the governor, trending on social media).

Photo of ESUTH isolation centre posted by “Concerned Health Workers in Enugu State”

It is disheartening that when we expected her and other family members of the woman, to show gratitude to the state government and the medical personnel for accepting to treat their rejected mother, under such intense panic and anxiety over the suspected spread of the deadly COVID-19 in the state, it was not forthcoming.

We also feel bad to note that the so-called daughter of the woman, who admitted her mother had multiple ailments, mischievously alleged that her “mother died due to the negligence and unpreparedness of the state in putting adequate facilities, including staff training in place”. We therefore state categorically that this allegation is false, mischievous and a clear case of ingratitude.

Nothing can be farther from the truth…

Because of these acts of mischief and ingratitude aimed at undermining the efforts our colleagues, other medical personnel and the state government, made to save her mother, we wish to call the attention of the public to the following facts that must have been largely responsible for the death of the patient…

We learnt that the 70-year old woman was promptly received and interviewed by doctors without any form of stigmatization from them or other health workers.

She was having problem of cough and fever. Being a returnee from Europe qualified her to be a suspected case of COVID-19, which incidentally was NEGATIVE after the investigative result came out.

Also, it was said that she had hypertension, sugar issues and kidney disease which were poorly managed before her admission at the isolation centre. Her personal doctor, a specialist at the ESUTH Parklane, was also contacted and later went to the Isolation Centre with two other specialists to see this woman.

Some important tests were done which showed the woman’s blood level was very low, hence needing transfusion.


These doctors and laboratory workers even collected sample from the throat of the woman for the main Corona virus test, hence there was

NO STIGMATISATION as the writer claimed.

We all should remember that the NCDC said the result will be out by Monday, but the result came out on Sunday evening. Hence there was NO DELAY in laboratory test. This result was said to be negative for corona virus. It was also noted that the woman was said not to have complained of neglect as the whole health-care workers were with her until the time of her death.

Where was the daughter all this while the mother was sick and being managed. It will be candid of us to know that where the woman was managed was clean and not the picture that is circulating as seen above.

May her soul rest in peace. Signed:

Chinwe Udeh

Agatha Nnamani

Nkem Eze

Emeka Anene

Peter Udemezue


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