The death of an alleged Covid 19 patient in Ilorin, Kwara State is being trailed by controversies as conflicting reports have been circulating on the social media on the actual nature of the sickness and the circumstances surrounding the death of the patient.
The state government, through a release signed by Rafiu Ajakaye the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor who also doubles as the spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, had said that the deceased died of a respiratory illness.
However, the University of Ilorin General Hospital, where the deceased died described the cause of his death as food poisoning.
Ajakaye said in the press release that “the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 wishes to clarify that the state has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19.
“As of now, all the six samples tested from Kwara State have returned negative.
“The committee states that there is no fact, at this moment, to support suggestions that a male patient who died on Wednesday night at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital was a COVID-19 patient.
“Findings by the medical advisory subcommittee revealed that the patient and his wife arrived from the United Kingdom, reportedly came to Ilorin on 20th March, 2020, and went into self-quarantine without reaching out to the government or the technical committee.
‘On the 13th day of the self-quarantine, the husband suddenly had difficulties breathing after reportedly eating dinner and was rushed to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and efforts to resuscitate him proved abortive and he was pronounced dead.”
The position of the government was however, contradicted by the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital through a twin press release signed by one Ojuawo Ayobola, the Public Relations Officer of Association of Residents Doctors, UITH and another one signed by the secretary of UITH MDCAN Ilorin, Kwara State.
The release reads; “The executives are aware of a possible/suspected case of COVID-19 that was admitted at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital on the 1st of April and died on the 2nd of April, 2020.
“While we await the results of the investigations aimed at establishing the diagnosis, all exposed members during the management of this patient have started self isolation and are currently being giving all the necessary support by the ARD executives and the Epidemiology department.”
A statement by MDCAN however, reads “A patient with symptoms of food poisoning, who was said to have been on self isolation for 13 days following his return from the UK (hence, suspected case of COVID-19) was admitted yesterday and died at the Medical Emergency ward today, Thursday 2nd April, 2020.
“In the spirit of proactiveness by the management of the hospital, the Medical Emergency has been shut down and the process of fumigation has been initiated.
“Close contacts of the patient (doctors and nurses that attended to him and his family members) have started self-isolation while we await possible confirmation of COVID-19.”
On the contrary, investigation showed that the deceased suspected Covid 19 patient, who was an indigene of Offa and whose identity was not disclosed immediately, is a chartered Accountant and Auditor, Alhaji Muideen Obanimom? who flew into Nigeria on Friday, 20th March 2020, via Lagos, and immediately went into isolation upon his arrival after noticing strange feelings.
A cousin of the deceased had said in an interview that “He self isolated with his wife in Lagos, while sending his children to temporarily stay with some relatives in other not to infect them.
“When the total lockdown of Lagos was announced, he called his friend, who is a Professor of medicine by name Professor (Dr.) AbdulSalam, who advised him to come down to Ilorin before the lockdown of Lagos which he agreed to.
“He came into Ilorin last week after being in self isolation for 3 days and was placed under treatment by his friend (Prof. Sulaiman) in his ilorin house where several kinds of medication were administered on him.
“When his condition deteriorated, he was rushed to SOBI Specialist Hospital, which was under lock and key and then quickly rushed to UITH where he was firstly rejected, until Prof. Abdulsalam placed a call through to the CMD Prof. Abdullah Yussuf and he was admitted and rushed to the emergency unit of the hospital at exactly 9:30pm by a professor who immediately called on all the Unit 3 doctors on duty to give him every necessary attention,” he said.
One of the doctors, who attended to the deceased, who spoke from isolation said “He was brought in on the accounts of diarrhea, which was said to have started that day.
“He had come into the country two weeks ago and suspectedly had been on self isolation taking home remedies of tumeric, ginger, pineapple and lemon.
“We all thought it was a case of food poisoning until certain symptoms like spouting blood, wheezing and others were noticed.”
A cousin of the deceased, who also spoke on the matter, said “Obanimomo died after doctors spent up to 45 minutes trying every means to resuscitate him.
“The doctors were regretful to have attended to him off guard and wished the professor had given them more open clue on the case.
“The hospital heads management came in later in the afternoon to announce the case of a Covid 19 infection and moved all the patient in the Emergency Medical to other wards so as to begin immediate provision for a fumigation.”
Further investigations showed that even when the medical personnel, who treated the patient strongly suspected that the deceased died of Covid 19, test was not conducted on him to ascertain the cause of his death before he was released and taken to Offa for burial.
It was gathered that the deceased, upon arriving Offa, was taken in for the compulsory bath (Ghusl Janazah) for all Muslim deaths and he was bathed and prepared according to Islamic rites, which is against the procedure for deaths caused by Covid 19, which is transferable through body contact.
Also, his wife with whom he traveled, who was supposed to be in self isolation was allegedly seen receiving mourners and having bodily contacts with several of them.
Corroborating the suspicion that the deceased likely died of Covid 19 virus, his friend who pleaded anonymity, said “I started noticing he was unusually active on our WhatsApp group since 10 days ago, he was always posting about Covid 19, affirming that it is real among other things,” he said.
One question begging for answer is that since UITH had authoritatively concluded that the deceased died of food poisoning, why are they isolating the staffs, who attended to him and why are they fumigating the emergency unit, an indication that it is definitely not “food poisoning virus”.
Also, people are wondering why UITH, according to its release, accepted that the deceased was a potential Covid 19 carrier and why didn’t it take his sample for Covid 19 test until he was buried.
Another question is that were they able to conclude he was Covid 19 free when no such test was conducted on him.
It is feared that the incident could lead to a further spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria if the contacts of the deceased before and after death are not traced and quarantined.
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