A seriously ill and unidentified man, mistaken for a lunatic and left to die on the streets of Warri, Delta State, has been rescued by a good Samaritan and is now recuperating at the Warri Central Hospital.
The good Samaritan, who is a former Commissioner for Education in Delta State, Dr. (Mrs.) Veronica Ogbuagu, said one of her brothers came to her office and pleaded with her to come over and assist the dying man.
Touched by the sorry state of the man, she said she could not leave him to die, seeing that he was still gasping for breath.
Unable to carry the dying man into her car alone, she pleaded with passersby for help, but none was ready to assist without being paid some money first.
Angered by the refusal of the people around to help her to carry the dying man, she broke down in tears and pleaded with them not to allow the man to die. Two passersby eventually took pity on the dying man and assisted in carrying the almost lifeless body of the man into her car.
Narrating her experience further, she said that she had to call one of her friends, who is a doctor, to seek advice on the best hospital to take the dying man to for treatment. The doctor referred her to a private hospital in Warri, where the dying man was given some drips to stabilise him before taking him back to the Central Hospital Warri.
At the Central Hospital Warri, another drama, which almost made her to lose her temper, played out as the health workers refused to attend to the dying man at the emergency ward, insisting that they had no space for such people in the hospital.
The doctors at the emergency ward then advised her to take the patient to another hospital. This advice angered her more and made her to put a call through to an official in the hospital, who later came and ordered that the patient be admitted at the psychiatric ward.
The next hurdle was to look for somebody who could bath the patient, who was covered with excreta and urine, which made him to smell badly. Ogbuagu had to pay someone the sum of N3,000 to wash the patient with soap and water.
The patient was admitted into the psychiatric ward, and after receiving some attention at the ward, he was referred back to the normal ward. He was diagnosed with acute anemia and recommended for urgent blood transfusion.
The huge hospital bill of the patient was becoming a burden to the former education commissioner, who could no longer foot it as she contended that the government was supposed to handle the case. The hospital, too, insisted that they did not have the drugs to give to the patient and she had to take up the responsibility, since the dying man was admitted into the hospital.
At a point, the former education commissioner became very angry, especially when one of the doctors at the Warri Central Hospital wrote a drug prescription for the patient, totaling about N150,000. Unable to stomach such insensitivity anymore, she threatened to foment trouble if the management of the hospital did not take over the care of the dying man
At a point, the former education commissioner became very angry, especially when one of the doctors at the Warri Central Hospital wrote a drug prescription for the patient, totaling about N150,000. Unable to stomach such insensitivity anymore, she threatened to foment trouble if the management of the hospital did not take over the care of the dying man.
After consulting with the Delta State Welfare Board, the management of the hospital took over the treatment of the patient.
Eyewitnesses on the street, where the patient was rescued by the former education commissioner, described the dying man as a destitute, who had for long been engaged in begging in the area.
They claimed not to know his identity or where he had come from.
One of them, Mr. Samuel Idoku, alleged that the dying man almost fell into the hands of a suspected ritualist some time ago.
He said, “It happened one evening, when we noticed that one Hausa man wanted to cover the mad man with a white cloth. When we saw the man, we quickly went to him and asked him what he was doing. He could not give us a good explanation. So, people beat the living daylight out of him and chased him away with his white cloth. We knew that the Hausa man wanted to use him for rituals. But thank God that we were there that day. If not, the man would have been used for rituals long ago.
“We want to thank this madam (Ogbuagu) that God used to come and save this man’s life. We all thought he was a mad man, but today, this madam is telling us that he is not a madman. The day she came to rescue him, we were amazed because we have never seen such a thing before. The man was lying lifeless on the ground on the street, when she came to take him to the hospital. The man was covered with faeces and was smelling badly.”
Another eyewitness, Mrs. Felicia Umukoro, claimed she was the one that gave the former the polythene sheet used to cover the seat of her car on which the man was laid the day she came to rescue him.
Umukoro said, “It is only God that will bless this madam for this thing that she has done. If not for her, that man would have been dead by now. No one thought the man could survive that day because he was hardly breathing. In fact, he was taking his last breath, when God sent this madam to come and save him.’