Felicia Attah, an Abuja resident, has accused Nisa Premier Hospital, Abuja, of poor practice leading to the death of Mercy, her 25-year-old daughter.
Mercy died on November 26, 2021, after spending 28 days on admission, undergoing multiple surgeries to deliver her baby and replace lost blood.
According to Attah, the hospital performed a cesarean section to deliver Mercy’s baby, but surgeries to replace lost blood led to multiple complications which eventually claimed her life.
However, the death certificate issued by the hospital claims she suffered post-COVID syndrome.
“On October 28, I took her to the hospital because she had signs of labour and she was nine months gone,” she told FIJ. “On October 24, we went to the hospital and met a doctor who said she was not yet due, so he gave her a drug for pain. He said he could not operate on her as she was a young girl and could give birth normally.
“So, on that 28, we met a matron who said there was a small opening, and that she (Mercy) was not due for labour. She said we should go back home.
“Then they checked her blood pressure (BP) and discovered it was high. They asked if we had a history of high BP in our family and I said yes; her father had high BP, so they injected her.”
Attah told FIJ that she was asked to go home with her daughter and return the following day, but the baby had already excreted in the womb, and had the umbilical cord tied around its neck.
They returned by 3pm on October 29, but the delivery would not begin until 12 am on the following day. Mercy was unable to dilate beyond 6cm. At this point, Attah suggested the doctors perform the CS operation.
Despite Attah granting permission for the surgery at 9 pm, it began well after midnight because the operating room was in use.
BIRTH COMPLICATIONS, QUEST FOR BLOOD AND MORE SURGERIES
“At about 12 midnight, they took her into the theater. Forty minutes later, they rushed the baby to the ICU,” Attah told FIJ. “Then later, one Dr. Francis came back and said they needed more blood, that my daughter’s uterus was not contracting. I asked the doctor how I could get more blood by that time of the night.
“I rushed to the blood bank to get blood. I begged them for blood and promised to replace, but they kept saying it was for other people. I told them I would replace it in the morning. The doctor then rushed in to beg the woman and assure her that we would replace the blood.
“After we got two pints of blood, I called my brother to come to the hospital to donate blood, because his blood is negative like my daughter’s.”
She would later need to purchase more pints of blood as complications developed from that point on.
At 4 am, Francis came out of the operating room to tell Attah that Mercy was bleeding, and they needed to remove her uterus to stop the bleeding. She signed the consent form. She said she never got the uterus as only the placenta was handed to her.
Meanwhile, the baby was rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU), where it died five days after.
After the surgery, “I noticed her right leg was swollen. She was conscious. She told me that a foreign doctor was sewing her up very fast,” Attah said.
“On Saturday, October 30, they started praising her for being strong during the surgery. Later, they said she had lost all her blood and needed more blood and plasma.
“The foreign doctor told us she had blood in her belly, and that he would monitor her until the morning of the next day. But the plasma they gave us was clotting the blood in her belly.”
Another surgery was done, and efforts were made to remove excess plasma and blood. This surgery demanded more blood.
However, Attah said, the sutures from this surgery were removed when it was discovered that Mercy was still swollen. Pus came out of the wounds, and another procedure was undergone to correct the error.
On November 18, Mercy complained of breathing difficulties and was rushed to the operating room again. She would die eight days later.
DEATH CERTIFICATE READS POST-COVID SYNDROME
Although the death certificate issued by Nisa Premier Hospital stated the cause of death as cardiac arrest, it listed septicemia, HELLPS syndrome and post-COVID syndrome as factors that contributed to Mercy’s death.
Attah told FIJ that her daughter had battled and recovered from COVID-19 weeks before the delivery and she was surprised it was added to the death certificate when it was the plasma complication that caused her discomfort and eventual death.
However, FIJ learnt that it is not uncommon for people to experience post-COVID syndrome weeks after recovering from the disease as explained here, but Attah says her daughter was given over 20 pints of blood, and she bled profusely for days.
When FIJ contacted Williams Tupkop, Nisa Premier Hospital’s head of human resources, she said she needed permission from the hospital’s management to speak on the matter.
A mail sent to the hospital’s official mail address on her request had not been responded to as of press time.