The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal has condemned the strike action by Association of Nurses and Midwives in the state over an alleged assault on one of its members by a police officer.
Midwives and nurses in the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH, on Thursday withdrew their services because one police Corporal whose wife died in UUTH due to alleged negligence by nurses reportedly assaulted the nurse in question.
It has been reported that patients with serious complications have died due to the withdrawal of services by the nurses and Midwives at the hospital.
The Commissioner of Police, while interacting with Newzandar News in Uyo over the incident said police and medical personnel were two professions that have been working together and that the sudden withdrawal of services due to alleged ‘professional misconduct and bias’ by the nurses who attended to the policeman’s late wife was illogical.
According to the CP, “I was told that the wife of a police corporal who had complications from the cesarean section was brought from Eket to UUTH alive.
“The Corporal who said he came with the late wife’s relatives explained that immediately he identified himself as a policeman, the nurse became cold and purposely stopped attending to his wife who died afterwards.
“He said after his wife died, he requested for the corpse of the woman but the nurse refused to release the corpse, saying that the corpse was government property, claiming that the woman died of COVID-19
“I believe that if the patient had any infectious disease, COVID-19 inclusive, NCDC would be involved but in this case, there were no call to them, and no sample was taken. The idea of tagging the deceased a COVID-19 -19 patient when she was not was an act of professional misconduct.
‘ The nurses must tell us why they are going on strike and not because the policeman who happens to be the husband of the deceased is accusing them of bias and professional misconduct.”
He said the CMD after a peace meeting with the staff and the relatives of the deceased, released the corpse because there was no trace of COVID-19, noting that if there was suspicion of COVID-19, the CMD would have called for more investigations.
CP Edgal said even though he was not indicting any nurse yet, he had written to the CMD, referring to the incident and asking him for a detailed report of what happened so as to enable him confirm whether what the policeman was saying that his wife was treated shabbily, was true so that it can be documented in order to avoid a possible repeat.
He expressed shock that no nurse has reported a case of assault to him or to the office, rather he was the one that wrote to the CMD on the issue.
“I am shocked here that nurses who are the ones indicted caused the whole association to down tools. As I speak, no nurse has come or written to me on any case of assault. I was the one who took the initiative to write. The nurses owe the people of Akwa Ibom some explanations, the woman in question lost her life. I am not indicting any nurse, but they should explain why they tagged the woman COVID-19 when the NCDC was not involved. We are not presuming but why should the nurses down tools? You know that I don’t spare any policeman that errs, but I will not allow any person use his advantage position to victimize a poor police officer,” CP Edgal said.
In his reaction, the CMD of UUTH, Dr. Emem Abasi Bassey said nobody had died as a result of the strike action by the nurses.
He said the woman was in a bad condition and there was also the suspicion of COVID-19 when she was brought to the hospital.
He added that the husband, suspecting that his wife was not properly attended to, assault the nurses leading to the action of the association.
His words,”Some time yesterday, a case was referred from a private clinic in Eket Local Government and the woman had a cesarean operation and was in a very terrible condition; her kidney was affected, and she was not passing urine and would require dialysis
“Because of the pandemic, there was also the suspicion of COVID-19 because she was coming from Eket where there are rumours of infection.
“Unfortunately, she could not have a dialysis because her blood pressure was too low; she would not have survived on the dialysis machine
”We had the Infectious disease team who came and examined her. In their opinion, this might not be COVID-19, nevertheless we still recommended a test for her.
” I later received a text message from the local chapter of the Newzandar NewsNM that a nurse has been assaulted. I immediately left and addressed the police and expressed my displeasure.
“I reasoned at the back of my mind that the policeman acted wrongly, but he might have acted because of the tragedy. Even the nurse who was assaulted was there and I pleaded with her that the management was going to handle her case.
“I thought at that level, every thing had been handled, but I was surprised that my HOD, Nursing called to inform me that the nurses were meeting over the issue and that I should go and meet with them.
“I was actually going to meet them when I noticed they were leaving the premises and that the state chairman had come in and asked them to down tools and I said that it was a wrong action.”