Varsity lecturers protest death of ex-ASUU chairman

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

Hundreds of aggrieved lecturers of the University of Port Harcourt under auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest against the management of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), accusing it of negligence in the death of Mr Edem David, former Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the university.

The late Edem David was rushed to the hospital’s casualty unit for an undisclosed ailment but was allegedly not properly taken care of before he died.

According to the ASUU Chairman, Dr Austin Sadoh: “there was a time lag between the time the late ASUU Chairman was rushed to the hospital (3a.m.) and 5.30 a.m. when he died.

”Before he died, he was shouting and telling them that the pain was in his heart and pleading that they should help him before he died. Eventually nothing was done before he died. We felt that we should go to the hospital to register our protest and demand that an investigation be carried out by the hospital management on the circumstances that led to his death so that we can forestall future occurrences. This is because we had recorded similar cases which happened among our staff and students of the the university. And beyond that, we have also heard of the negligence of staffers and management of the hospital.”

Sadoh expressed deep regret and disappointment. He described the death of the former ASUU Chairman as one death too many. Worse still is that the management of the hospital refused to take responsibility for the death.

He said the intention of the lecturers was to register their protest and call for investigation to prevent future occurrences.

“Unfortunately, they (management and staff) don’t think that is necessary. What is left for us is to ensure that the death of David is not swept under the carpet. We will take up the matter with other health regulatory agencies in the health industry”.

Sadoh expressed regret that despite the protest, the management of UPTH did not deemed it fit to address them.

But in a swift reaction, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of UPTH, Dr Charles Tobin-West said it was no true that the late Eden David was neglected.

“They brought him unconscious. Tests were immediately conducted and that was when they discovered that the sugar level was very high. The Casualty Officer immediately swung into action by giving him oxygen. I learnt he regained consciousness and was able to make comments. An hour later he slipped back into coma and they did all they could but he died at 5.30 a.m. The Doctors and Nurses did all they could as far as we are concerned.” Dr Tobi-West stated.

On the allegation that the management refused to address the protesting ASUU members, he said that ASUU members did not seek audience with management as the laid down procedure required.

“We expected them to be more intelligent than that. They did not seek audience with the management. I can categorically say that. They did not make any representation to the management. Why will we not talk to them? We have nothing to hide. The records are there. If they made any request, they should show proof. We expected them to be more intelligent than what they did,” Dr Tobin-West said.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

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