Dr Michael Umoh, a house officer at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, has allegedly died after a 72-hour call.
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 11:00 a.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 3:00 a.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, the management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, denied the allegation.
This is contained in a statement issued by the LUTH management team in Lagos on Thursday.
“LUTH management understands the fact that the family of Dr Umoh is presently mourning the death of their beloved son and requested the foreclosure of any media engagement regarding the death of their son. It is important for us as a management to make clarifications regarding the circumstances surrounding his death.
“Dr Umoh died on September 17 while in church with his parents. The management was informed, and the death was later confirmed by one of the Consultants in his unit (Neurosurgery).
“The death of Dr Umoh is unfortunate, but the narrative of a 72 hours non-stop shift is false.
“The record from Neurosurgery unit shows that the last time he was on call was 13th and 14th September, 2023.
“He was not on call on the 15th, 16th and 17th (the day he died), contrary to the insinuations on social media. He was at home with his parents on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17,” the management said.
Prior to this time, the management said, he was on call on the Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.
”This shows that Dr Umoh was on call for a total number of four days in September, 2023.
“A delegation from LUTH visited the family on Wednesday to commiserate with the family and to get more details of the circumstances surrounding his death.
“The parents gave the details of what they thought must have contributed to his death but pleaded that the wish of the family be respected and that the narrative is not for public consumption,” it said.
The management described Dr Umoh as a hardworking and diligent house-officer, and a very promising young man.
It said he will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues.
“May his soul rest in peace, and may the Almighty give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” LUTH said.