Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 11:01:44 +0000 (GMT) 

Subject: Rats loot patients at LUTH while obj imports 4 billion naira cars

By Yetunde Oladeinde

The services of the mythical Pied Piper of Hamelin may fast be required to save bedridden patients at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) from being gobbled up by rats.

In their thousands, giant ferocious rats have taken over the tertiary health institution, once dubbed a centre of excellence by the World Health Organization (WHO). Recently, a patient had her lips completely eaten up, while the hapless woman could not lift any part of her body to scare away the rodents.

Kenneth Odomena, a graphic artist, had gone to see his mother-in-law at the Female Medical Ward A4, but to his consternation, a welcome party of giant rats had formed a guard of honour by the door. Some of them were pure white, while others were brown, colour of the typical Lagos rats, Odomena told Daily Sun.

But that was just the beginning of the birth pangs. Odomena said on subsequent visits, I saw more and more of them, huge things like this. And then one day, someone told us that the rats had started biting patients in the wards at night, and that really scared me.?

The man?s worst fears were confirmed a few days ago, when he visited Female Medical Ward A4 again, and was told that rats completely ate up an old womans lips.

Her face was heavily bandaged. But to make matters worse, when we went the next day, we learnt that the rats attacked again the previous night, and it was more serious than the first attack. It was a pitiable sight, Odomena said, adding: There are holes in the ceiling, and I saw big rats coming down form them. Some of the nurses tried to cellotape the holes, but you know how rats are. They just ate up the cellotape. A relation of the old woman savaged by the rats, who gave her name as Mrs. Funmilayo Laniyan, confirmed the attack.

Mama is old, she is suffering from what is called Parkinsons disease. It is sad that in her condition, she could be made to face such ordeal. The rats attacked her more than twice, and at a point when she was improving, the rats attacked her again. Laniyan confirms that rats menace at LUTH is not just a recent occurrence.

There was a time I was on admission there, and my husband bought me some snacks. I kept them beside the bed, and before I knew it, the nylon bag had vanished. That was when the other patients told me rats must have carried it away.

Another relation of the rat victim, just back from the United States, said the hospital authorities had apologised and pleaded with the family in respect of the attack. I was really angry when I heard about it and went to see the professor in charge, and he promised such would not happen again. So, you see, I donít think I should be talking about it. Besides, my brother is also a professor here.

Another patient, who simply gave his name as Nelson, told Daily Sun the horrifying story of how a patient died around 6pm, and by the time attendants came for the corpse, rats had eaten part of the face, especially the lips. Those on duty were so afraid and didnít know what to tell the family, Nelson disclosed. I suspect that these are not ordinary rats. They gave them poisoned corn and bread, but they refused to eat it. Instead, they prefer to feed on human flesh. I think they are vampire rats.

Daily Sun investigations showed that the rats infestation may have been caused by the poor environmental sanitation at LUTH, dotted with garbage heaps and overflowing dustbins. Some areas are also littered with junk items like old fridges and mattresses, which provide ready habitats for the wild rats. The location of the hospital between Mushin and Idi Araba, two densely populated areas, could also be a causative factor.

All attempts made to speak to the public relations officer of the hospital proved abortive. Several visits to his office yielded no result.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, with his mysterious flute, lured thousands of rats away from a town that was almost sacked by the rodents. Maybe LUTH would need the services of such man, if they can ever get him out of the kiddies literature books.


Subject: Re: Rats loot patients at LUTH while obj imports 4 billion naira cars

This is not the type of news that should make a national headline. Why? It brings contradictory effect to how the country is currently being portrayed.

Perhaps - A family that rats ate the corpse of their loved one is one of the happiest people in the world!

Perhaps - A country that spent so much on All African Games should not worry about ordinary rats.

Perhaps - A country that is importing BMW from Germany should not be concerned about her health services.

Summing up all together just remind me that all we see today is still part of colonial mentality and slavery. How can a country in economic depression think that she needs to satisfy or pretend that all is well? Sometimes there are so many things I do not know. But often, I know that what they called common sense is not common at all.

There are available technology to eliminate rats from the institution. Calling Babalawo or Onisegun is not the answer. This has nothing to do with Celestials candle or Aladura...

People should be more concerned about other issues raised in this article - The ceiling for example - Is it made of asbestos? If the asbestos is broken, then it is a potential danger to health on its own. What about accumulated dust within the ceiling itself? 'Olodumare sanu'

What is our priority as a nation? What is important and what is not important? This is not in my opinion how to construct, build or govern a nation. Certain things must take priority over others....

 The provost of the institution should be made to proceed on compulsory leave immediately.

The Minister of Health must be made to account for this laxity. The Federal Government of Nigeria must do something urgently about it.....

But just before we invoke such judgment, we need to look at the house of those working at LUTH. Ajegunle could be a better place. So how can someone that has no sense of decency carry out such in his place of work.

Is it not time that LUTH start cooking food for patients while the institution ban foods in the ward?

 

Editorís Comment: These excerpts are from some very serious discussions going on about the state of the nation Nigeria at naijapolitics@yahoogroups.com. You may want to visit there to join the hot debate or may just feed us back from here.

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From:[...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 10:22 PM
To: 'ehri@yahoogroups.com'
Cc: 'allafrica20022000@yahoo.co.uk'
Subject: RE: [ehri] Rats loot patients at LUTH while obj imports 4 billion naira cars
Imagine with me for a moment that there is this sovereign and independent nation called Odualand encompassing Yorubaland.
Visit LUTH in this land of imagination, in the nation of Odua. Do you see a rat-infested institution?
 
I shake my hand in utter disbelief to read some of the pinprick "solutions" being offered here. As a physician, when a patient with operable but lethal cancer  comes to me for evaluation and treatment, I don't waste his time or my time lecturing him that his shirt has a stain which needs to be removed, or that he shouldn't run out of Tylenol. I offer him surgery. Surgery always has risks, yes. But, without surgery, he will surely die a miserable death, and even the real world rats of LUTH will avoid his cancer-eaten upper lip.
 
Folks: as long as Nigeria continues with this futile and dead-end structure called one-Nigeria, it is doomed, and we, along with it. The only salvation for us is the actualization and ratification of the sovereignty of each of the nations that currently make up Nigeria. No such sovereign nation and her people would want to bear the type of shame that Nigeria has been subjugating us all to individually and collectively, on a daily basis, for the past 40 years.
 
Our problem is Nigeria: one-Nigeria. The solution is "to your tents..."  "Know Nigeria, know shame. No Nigeria, no shame."
 
And, it does not stop there; if we do not get out of Nigeria, it will not be rats that we have to contend with, because they will be the least of our problems. Think about it.
 
(Moderator: please cross-post my response to the other relevant fora).
 
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A Biafran Citizen