…As patients alleges several preventable deaths due to gross negligence and ineptitude
By Maryam Musa
Garkuwa Hospital is situated at the heart of Kaduna State. When the hospital was established more than two decades ago, it has only one structure, an apartment converted and refurbished into rooms. There was virtually few private hospitals if any in the entire area then. Then, Garkuwa Hospital has set a standard of excellence even with very little capital to operate. With the declining fortunes of government hospitals due to gross decay, poor facilities/management and lack of sufficient funding and committed personnel, Garkuwa hospital gradually became the favourite of many homes for patronage not only because of the qualified doctors they employed or enter into partnership with but because of the ethical conduct of both doctors and nurses of the hospital combined with the hospitality, accommodation and for being patient friendly.
But over the last 10 years when the hospital supposed to improve beyond measure because of the enormous profit they are getting coupled with improved structures they put in place with some of their proceeds, Garkuwa Hospital instead transformed to a capitalist oriented hospital where they value money and undeserved profit in preference of giving first class services to their increasing patients. Despite their conduct however the hospital became cult like with many patience opting to patronize them. The hospital in its bid to maximise profit to the detriment of their patients which resulted to many instances of preventable deaths in the hospital virtually sacked or disengaged their experience doctors including consultants in their payroll and relied heavily on NYSC, Corp Doctors and other newly graduated doctors with no experience at all and no orientation on how to value, respect and accommodate their patients and those with them. It suddenly became a hospital where wrong prescription, wrong diagnosis is rampant with cases of preventable deaths as a result. Despite their huge monthly earnings, Garkuwa Hospital staffs are among the least paid staffs with some reportedly receiving as low as N8,000 as their monthly pay. The above claims on Garkuwa DESERT HERALD can report is the view of many patients that interacted with the hospital over the years.
But in an interview with DESERT HERALD, the chief medical director of the hospital, Dr. Abubakar said he is not aware of what happened with a patient that was brought by the President/Founder of Maryam Abacha American University of Niger, MAAUN, Dr. Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo. He promised to get to the route of the matter and that the hospital will initiate a thorough investigation.
GARKUWA HOSPITAL AT A GLANCE
Sometimes, I don’t blame rich Nigerians who engage in medical tourism abroad to seek standard medical care even on non-life threatening ailments that can be treated without much fuss or hassles.
The reasons are not far fetched. It is based on the fact that majority of Nigeria’s hospitals have been turned to mere consulting centers in which even the most basic ailments are difficult to come by, let alone complex medical challenges that need complex procedures to tackle.
As Nigeria’s economy bites harder, many Nigerians considerably find it difficult to indulge in medical tourism abroad; they could not turn to public health institutions either because they have been annihilated by corruption and other sundry infringements to the extent, government hospitals are regarded as mere death traps.
It is in view of the foregoing that majority of Nigerians switched to private hospitals with the hope of getting a fair and better deal since patients are responsible for their medical expenditure.
But with the consistent drift in the health sector, the private medical facilities have also been bastardized and have been turned by greedy, conscienceless and rapacious practitioners to centers where hapless and helpless Nigerians who are bedevilled by health challenges could be fleeced of their hard earned moneys with Impunity.
The activities of these health centers have over the years constituted a thorn in the flesh of patients who after being made to cough out substantial funds ended being cheated, leading to unsavoury consequences on the part of the patients while the unscrupulous operators of such health centers smile to the banks with their ill gotten money.
It is in this context that Garkuwa hospital, located at the heart of the Government Reservation Area (GRA) Kaduna, could be situated.
The hospital, according to insider sources has been operating with blithe regard for rules and ethical conduct as its owners craftily made it another money spinning venture which produced high yield to them at the detriment of the patients who are made to pay extortionate amounts only to receive poor medical services that are not quite commensurate with the amount paid.
The scenario in the hospital was aptly captured by Dr Adamu Gwarzo who said; ” The operators of Garkuwa hospital are a bunch of unconscionable businessmen making best use of our rudderless environment to make business with people’s lives.”
He said, the attitude of the management of the hospital towards the welfare of patients only suggested to him that the hospital was a contraption meant to extort money from Nigerians with health challenges without caring a hoot about whether they survive their health travails or not.
The professor noted that the sheer impunity raging in the hospital is better imagined than witnessed and can only take place in a polity where respect for human life has been thrown over board for selfish and pecuniary goals.
Gwarzo said, he was surprised by the audacity of the hospital which after collecting a deposit of N200,000 from him, administer only one drip to the patient three days after she was admitted, adding that the hospital cannot similarly produced the result of a laboratory test, two days after the patient’s blood has been taken, at a time the patient was wallowing in anguish and pains, noting that such lacklustre attitude, is a recipe for disaster, which in this case means “death.”
He noted that when he lodged a complaint to one of the doctors about the poor services rendered to his patient, the only response he could get was that he should have read medicine if he thought managing a hospital was easy.
Gwarzo noted that piqued by the intransigent mannerism of the medical doctor, coupled with the lethargic disposition of the staff towards his ailing patient, he was left with the only option of relocating the patient to another hospital, adding that even as at the time he left the hospital, the authorities did not furnish him with account of the expenditure he incurred let alone gave him balance if there was any.
The concerns of Gwarzo was reechoed by a hospital insider who said the hospital has for a long time deployed double edged-sleazy measures to shortchange both patients and the teeming staff of the organization whom get only subsistent salary at the end of the month despite putting long hours of service on daily basis.
The source noted that in a scorched earth move to cut personnel cost, the hospital mostly request the services of corps members who are largely inexperienced, adding to the woeful overall performance in giving patients value for their money, noting that despite the poor services, the hospital continue to record high volume of patients as it was approved by NHIS.
Our findings have revealed that the hospital is a case study in wanton neglect, with mosquito infested wards, broken and smelly toilets and dysfunctional air conditioning system making patients and their relatives to be highly exposed to the eventualities of hospital acquired infections.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gwarzo has vowed to sue Garkuwa Hospital, to claim for damages for the inhuman treatment and how they suffered his patient despite depositing N200,000 for first class service.