House officers at Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LUTH), yesterday, raised the alarm over poor working conditions and the death of a house officer, Dr. Umoh Michael, for allegedly working for 72 hours.
Dr Michael allegedly died on September 17, after being on a 72-hour-call in the Neurosurgery Unit. He was said to have been on call for the duration before arriving home on Sunday morning for church service, and slumped in his worship centre (United Evangelical Church) at about 11:00a.m.
In a letter written to the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo by medical doctors under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LUTH chapter, said the late doctor’s roommate attested to the fact that the deceased had hardly slept in their apartment for the past one week.
They claimed that Dr. Michael was always on call and had returned home after surgeries and other activities in the Neurosurgery unit at about 3:00a.m.
“We have long standing challenges since we resumed housemanship here and one most striking challenge is the bullying we receive from our senior colleagues, stressful call hours without breaks in between, no call food and no good accommodation”, they said
In their request, the doctors demanded that House Officers, who were on call the previous day, should be allowed either half day the next day or allowed to resume work by midday the following day, and should not be made to work for 48 hours at stretch.
They also demanded that compulsory health checks at the beginning of House jobs should be free or grossly subsidised for House Officers. They further demanded that their senior colleagues, senior registers and registrars should make the work environment friendly for them and House officers should not do work of potters, nurses or patient relatives.
Reacting, LUTH’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Omolola Fakeye, said: “It is not true that anybody worked for 72 hours. I have not been briefed about his death. We were at a programme yesterday (Monday), but I will find out; I can’t say anything now. I will check the medical report of what could have happened because anybody can say anything, but the medical report will show to us what actually happened,” he said.