Chisom Anekwe, a mother of two who was expecting her third, died at the Magodo specialist hospital when she went to deliver her first son Following her death, friends and family accused the hospital of incompetence. Magodo specialist hospital has now replied.
The management of the hospital expressed sympathy for the death of Chisom and her baby and are telling their side of the story. In the statement written by Mr Samuel O Isong on behalf of Magodo Specialist Hospital Limited and sent to LIB, the hospital referred to the claims making the rounds online as “untrue, falsified and distorted”. Mr Isong said Chisom was a pleasant woman and was loved by both staff and patient and was also well known because she had her two daughters in the hospital. However, when she was pregnant with her son, she developed hypertension (pre-eclampsia) and complications resulting thereof led to her death.
The hospital said they did everything they could to put her needs above theirs and ensure what was best for her was what she got, however, despite the best human efforts, death still occurs sometimes. According to the statement, the case is presently under investigation by statutory bodies such as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and the Lagos State Health Facilities Accreditation and Monitoring Authority (HEFAMA).
Below is the statement from Magodo Specialist Hospital:
MAGODO SPECIALIST HOSPITAL ON THE DEATH OF MRS CHISOM ANEKWE.
We are deeply saddened by the death of Mrs Chisom Anekwe. We wish to express our sympathy to the family and friends on this unfortunate and tragic incidence. We pray that God will comfort them and grant them the fortitude to bear this great loss. We are however compelled to address the postings on the social media which are untrue. The facts have been markedly falsified and distorted. It would appear that deliberate attempts were made to damage the image of the hospital and the integrity of the attending doctors and nurses based on false premises. It has become necessary to state the hospital’s account within the limits of professional ethics in order to give members of the public a balanced perspective. We wish to state that the case is presently under investigation by statutory bodies such as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and the Lagos State Health Facilities Accreditation and Monitoring Authority (HEFAMA) and as such, the hospital would not want to do anything that would prejudice such investigations. It is also hoped that a post mortem examination would help to unravel the cause of this unfortunate incident.
Mrs Chisom Anekwe was a pleasant and gracious lady who was well liked by staff and other patients. We were delighted when she registered for antenatal care in Magodo Specialist Hospital for her third baby. She had had 2 previous successful deliveries in this hospital in 2012 and 2015 respectively. During the index pregnancy, she developed hypertension at a time when the baby was not yet matured for delivery. Hypertensive diseases (pre-eclampsia) are the leading cause of death associated with pregnancy worldwide. She was offered admission to control and monitor the blood pressure on 26 April 2017 but declined and went home. She later returned on 27 April 2017 because of headache and inability to sleep. She was placed on BP lowering drugs and was regularly seen by doctors and nurses including gynaecologists. At least 3 gynaecologists attended to her individually or jointly during her admission.
She remained stable until the early hours of 30 April 2017 when she complained of sudden severe abdominal pain. It emerged that she did not take the medication prescribed to reduce her blood pressure the previous evening. The nurses and doctors including a gynaecologist came to see and made a diagnosis of placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta is detached from the womb before the onset of labour. Placental abruption is a known complication of hypertension in pregnancy and in this condition, the patient would lose a lot of blood and the baby would suffer from nutrient and oxygen lack and is usually born dead. On assessment, the patient was in shock. Immediate steps were taken to resuscitate her with intravenous drips and oxygen while attempts were made to obtain blood for transfusion. The staff then prepared for emergency caesarean section to try and save the baby. The team including gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician were called and they attended. But before starting the operation, the doctors needed to confirm that the baby was still alive by listening to the heartbeat. Unfortunately, the baby’s heartbeat was not heard.
This necessitated a change of plan. They decided not to proceed with the operation because the baby was already dead and the operation could be dangerous for the mother in that situation. A further complication of placental abruption is disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) a condition where the blood fails to clot. This could lead to excessive and uncontrollable bleeding during a caesarean operation. This was explained to the husband who gave consent for labour to be induced. Labour was induced and she was monitored throughout. She then had a normal delivery of the baby and placenta following labour induction.
Resuscitation of the patient continued and she was given drips and blood transfusion to replace what she had lost. She was continually monitored by nurses, doctors and gynaecologists. She was never left on her own contrary to the postings on social media. There was initial improvement in her condition, which appeared to be stabilizing. But when it unexpectedly started to deteriorate, it was decided after consultation with the husband to transfer her to another hospital.
The story on social media suggested that the patient fell into labour, called for help and nobody came. This is not true. The claim that the patient fell into labour was contradicted by the same social media post which alleged that labour was induced without the husband’s consent. The patient never fell into labour and when she developed placenta abruption, the doctors and nurses including the gynaecologist attended promptly. For most of the time, 2 gynaecologists jointly attended to her along with other doctors and nurses. The patient was monitored continually during the management of this severe emergency.
The decision not to proceed with caesarean section was taken in the patient’s overall best interest and according to standard medical practice. The theatre was prepared and the team of gynaecologist, anaesthetist, paediatrician and others assembled ready to do the operation. They did not proceed because of consideration of the patient’s overall best interest. Ironically, it would be financially more rewarding for the hospital to do caesarean section rather than offer vaginal delivery. We placed our patient’s interest above any potential financial gain.
The story also claimed that the “doctor sneaked out of the hospital”. This is untrue. Two gynaecologists were jointly attending to the patient and when her condition appeared to be stabilizing, one of them left with a plan to return after a short while. And when he was contacted that the patient’s condition was deteriorating, he immediately made his way back to the hospital and later proceeded to the hospital where the patient was referred to support the family. He left the referral hospital after he was physically assaulted by the patient’s husband.
We care very passionately about the health and lives of our patients. The hospital is well equipped and adequately staffed. The hospital is fully accredited by the relevant statutory authorities. We are very sorrowful about losing this patient. The death of any young person is regrettable and must be guarded against. We have handled many difficult cases successfully in the past and did our best in this situation. But we also are humble to recognize that doctors and nurses may care, it is God that heals and that despite human best effort, death may still occur. We are greatly distressed and saddened by the death of this young woman who had been our patient for over 5 years and had her 2 babies successfully under our care. Our hearts and prayers are with the family. We pray that God in His infinite mercy will comfort them and grant them the grace and strength to bear this great loss. We pray that the almighty God will take care of the children and the family she has left behind.
Mr Samuel O Isong
On Behalf Of Magodo Specialist Hospital Limited