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LUTH: Doctors declare two-day mourning for colleague who died after ‘long call hours’

Doctor Umoh Michael Doctor Umoh Michael

House officers at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) have resolved to down their tools for 48 hours over the death of Umoh Michael, a medical doctor at the healthcare facility.

The doctor was said to have died on Sunday after working long hours.

In a letter on Tuesday addressed to the hospital’s chief medical director, the doctors said the 48-hour period would enable them to mourn the loss of their colleague.

“We hereby notify you on the demise of our beloved brother, friend and colleague Dr. Umoh Michael 2 days ago,” the letter reads.

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“In view of the above, the House Officers have resolved to the following: To embark on a 48-hours down tools to enable us mourn our colleague beginning from tomorrow the 20 September 2023 to 21st September 2023.

“We also call for a review of the duty schedule of House Officers in all the units; to allow time for adequate rest and prevent the demise of another House Officer.”

Also, in a separate letter to the chief medical director, the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at the hospital, said the deceased doctor had been on call for 72 hours before slumping in church.

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“We, the house officer LUTH, are in deep grief over the loss of our colleague, a co-House officer (Dr Umoh Michael) who died on 17 September, 2023 after having a 72hrs call in Neurosurgery Unit,” the letter reads.

“He is said to have been on call 72hrs before arriving home on Sunday morning to get set for church service, reaching his worship centre (United Evangelical Church) where he slumped in the church at about 11am.

“His roommate attested to the fact that Umoh Michael has barely slept in their apartment over the past one week as he was always on call or the day he returns home is around 3am after surgeries and other activities in Neurosurgery unit.”

The doctors said they have had long-standing challenges, which include bullying from senior colleagues and stressful call hours without breaks in between.

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They requested that “house officers who did their call the previous day should be allowed half day the next day or allowed to resume work by midday the following day”.

They also requested that the “compulsory Health check at the beginning of House job should be free or grossly subsidized for House Officers; our senior colleague (senior registers and registrars) should make the work environment friendly for us; and house officers should not do work of potters, nurses or patient relatives”.

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