By Jude Michael
Medical doctors working at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors, have begun a five-day warning strike.
The body said the action was as a result of attacks on its members by relatives of patients.
The latest of such an attack was said to have happened last week when relatives of a deceased patient held a doctor hostage for two hours, amid torture.
In a communiqué signed by the president and the secretary of the group, Dr Chinwe Ndukwe and Dr Obiora Egbue, respectively, after an emergency general meeting, the group decried what it called incessant assaults, saying it had gone on unattended.
Part of the communiqué issued by the group read: “The Association of Resident Doctors, NAUTH, Nnewi, had an emergency general meeting on January 24, 2023, following the physical assault and near-death experience of its member. The meeting which had over 100 members present, made the following observations.
“A five-day total shutdown of clinical and emergency services has been issued by Congress, commencing from (6am Wednesday) January 25, 2023 and ends on (8am Monday) 30th January 2023.
“The Congress insists that Management should ensure prosecution of the culprits involved in this dastardly act so as to serve as a deterrent to others in the future.
“The security architecture of the hospital needs to be overhauled and replaced with able bodied unarmed local vigilante or civil defence operatives.
“Management as a matter of urgency needs to recruit more resident doctors and medical officers so as to increase manpower and improve service delivery.
“Management should enforce strict adherence to visiting time, and no patient’s relative should be allowed in the ward outside of the visiting time.”
The group recalled that on January 22, 2023, its member went to review a patient at the male surgical ward, where he met nurses who were resuscitating another patient through CPR.
“In a bid to save the patient, our member joined in the resuscitation. Unfortunately, the patient died and the doctor was subsequently brutally assaulted by the deceased patient’s relatives.
“He endured over two hours of this torture and humiliation before the late intervention of the hospital security outfit and Management.
“While the Supreme Congress of Association of Resident doctors, NAUTH, Nnewi, acknowledges the efforts of the NAUTH Management to condemn the incident and ensure that the assailants were arrested by the police, amid other measures, we however feel that more needs to be done to send a strong and clear message as a deterrent to all to ensure that assault on any doctor does not happen again.”