Two weeks ago, the management of the UATH (University of Abuja Teaching Hospital) Gwagwalada after many months of dilly-dallying, decided to close down the spine programme of the hospital instructing Dr. Ahidjo Abdulkadiri Kawu a spine specialist at the center to discharge a patient who needed surgery urgently.
The crisis at the Spine center has been brewing for months, prompted by the publicity given by Nigeria newspapers to the activities of the spine unit. The people close to the chief medical director convinced him that the head of the spine unit was trying to position himself to be the new chief medical director.
The spine unit at UATH started 6yrs ago. It took 2 years after the creation to be functional. During this period the hospital expended little or nothing to provide spine instruments and was unable to provide specialist care for the many needful patients. It was the dearth of these instruments that lead to collaboration between the spine unit and a private company, Spine and Scoliosis Ltd. The company sells implants to patients and supplies the instruments.
This enabled the rapid growth of Spine care in Abuja. Spine surgeries utilize special instruments and require a variety of artificial prosthetics, implants and other artificial devices.
By its collaborations with National Hospital, a Sokoto hospital and Garki hospital, Spine and Scoliosis LTD became the backbone for the care of spine patients allowing the center to respond to the needs of increasingly complex cases at affordable costs.
The management of UATH Gwagwalada insisted that the company stops providing instruments and claimed that they will acquire needed instruments by their own means. What they couldn't achieve in 6yrs now they proposed to do in one week.
With the closure of the spine unit, all the patients that require surgery are now being turned back and left to their fate. A decompression surgery with stabilisation costs about N500 thousand in UATH while in other hospitals it ranges from 1 million to 2.5 million.
Patients who need urgent care from our public institutions are being denied this with the current attitude of the management of the hospital.
The present situation that is affecting the provision of healthcare by the public facility in the Abuja metropolis boils down to ego, greed and lack of empathy. Patients are threatening a law suit against the hospital management.
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