A 33-year-old journalist with the Silverbird Television, Mr Nkansa Johnson, has called on the management of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital to release the corpses of his set of twins to him for burial.
Johnson, whose babies died after they were born on February 5, 2020, while being kept in the incubator, told our correspondent on Sunday that the management of the hospital wanted him to settle over N200,000 after he had already exhausted all he had to keep them alive.
He stated that while one of the set of twins died a week after birth, the other was lost about a month after .
Johnson, a native of the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, expressed surprise that his babies were kept in the mortuary because the management of the hospital wanted him to pay more, even when none of them was alive.
He explained that he had spent over N200,000 so far to ensure that the set of twins survived and had no money left to settle medical bills, even as he described the experience as painful.
Johnson stated, “I am not happy because I took my pregnant wife to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital on January 27, 2020. She was admitted because she was ill. When the doctors checked her, they told me that they would be able to handle the situation.
“They did all they could and later told me that she was okay, but she could not be discharged and that she would be in the hospital with them pending when they would confirm that she was fully okay.
“Along the line, labour started and the doctors swung into action. From there, she was delivered of a set of twin girls. It was not up to nine months when she put to bed. So, they said the babies had to be incubated. They put the babies in the incubator.
“After a week, one of the babies died in their hands. They did not give me any good explanation when I asked them why the baby died. They told me that since the babies were delivered prematurely, their survival was based on luck.
“The UPTH doctors promised that they would try their best for the second baby, so that I could have that one. They took the corpse of the first to the mortuary. I then asked them why they would take a seven-day-old premature baby to the mortuary.
“They said that I would pay the bill of the baby that died for the seven days she spent in the incubator. They now began to struggle to save the life of the other baby. So far, with all the tests and other expenses, I have spent over N200,000. Now, I lost the second baby in their hands.
“They still took the body to the mortuary again for me to come and clear the bills. My appeal to the hospital is that it should release the corpses of my babies to me. I have spent all I have and yet the babies did not survive. These babies are too tender to be in the mortuary.”
He added that apart from purchasing five pints of blood, he had to pay to use the hospital’s toilet and ran out of cash as a result of too many bills to pay.
Johnson said, “At the hospital, I paid a lot; I paid for even where to urinate whenever I was in the hospital. I also slept outside, where I was seriously bitten by mosquitoes. I also paid for where I went to excrete and where I took my bath.
“Before you buy a pint of blood at the UPTH, you have to pay N6,000; that one, they say you are just paying it to them. You have to run a test for N4,900 and then buy a pint of blood for N12,000. With all this, you are spending over N20,000 for a pint of blood instead of N12,000. It is really painful.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, UPTH, Mrs Elabha Meni, urged Johnson to visit the Social Welfare Unit of the hospital to officially appeal for the bodies of the babies to be released.
She stated, “We have a Social Welfare Unit. In terms of waiver, everything is supposed to be channelled through the unit. We have to pick up the case history and everything.
“So, it is not something that we do on the telephone. Let him come and we will go to the Social Welfare Unit together. Then, we will get the children’s folder to see what he has paid. So, we can make an appeal on his behalf.”