Doctors at the Warri Central Hospital in Delta State have expressed fear that a 14-year-old cerebral palsy victim, Steven Orode, allegedly abandoned by his unidentified mother at the hospital, risks other infectious diseases, if not urgently taken away from the health facility.
The doctors said that the teenager was not safe in the hospital environment as he was susceptible to many infections.
An unidentified mother had, precisely on December 14, abandoned Orode at the hospital.
The child, according to one of the matrons, Mrs. Bridget Achugbue, was abandoned by his mother, who brought him to the hospital for treatment.
Achugbue told our correspondent that Orode’s mother allegedly disappeared while pretending to go out of the hospital to buy some food for the child.
According to the medical file of the child, obtained by our correspondent, Orode was admitted into the hospital on December 12, after he was diagnosed as having severe Malaria and Cerebral Palsy by doctors, who attended to him when his mother brought him for treatment.
Our correspondent, who visited the Children’s Ward of the hospital, where Orode had been on admission, observed the fair-complexioned boy sitting up on his bed, but oblivious of the happenings around him.
Further findings revealed that the mother of the boy, who gave her name as Mrs. Theresa, disappeared into thin air as she could no longer take care of the child that she had nurtured in the past 14 years.
Narrating how the mother of the sick boy left the hospital, one of the nurses, who identified herself as Mrs. Ruth Aniadu, said, “She left one of her friends behind and promised to come back. When her friend waited for several hours without any sign of the mother, she decided to leave the boy behind and go home to attend to her own children.”
The nurses said they could not hold the woman’s friend because she was not the one that brought the boy to the hospital, adding that they had to let her go when she said she wanted to go home and take care of her own children.
“I was newly posted here and when I met the child, he was in a very bad shape. The boy was earlier admitted at the children emergency ward and was transferred here some few days ago. He was managed for severe malaria and cerebral palsy. The child had been tactically managed by one Ngozi and others, because all efforts to take the child to the orphanage had failed as all the orphanage homes we have taken him to have rejected him,” a nurse said.
Right now, his immediate need is nourishment in terms of food and a safe place to live in because the hospital environment can be hostile. We do not know which patients can be coming next and which illnesses they will be bringing
A Consultant Paediatrician at the Warri Central Hospital, Dr. Henry Chukwuma, told our correspondent that Orode’s mother dumped him at the hospital and ran away because she and her husband could no longer cope with the health challenges confronting the boy.
“The child you are seeing here has challenges. The challenges are such that the parents are unable to cope emotionally, socially and probably, financially. Two weeks ago, the child was brought here and we have treated him, but all of a sudden the mother decided to run away and since then all attempts to trace her has not been successful,” Chukwuma said.
The consultant paeditrician, however, warned that the cerebral palsy victim was not safe in the hospital environment as he could “catch” other infectious diseases at the facility due to his current fragile state of health.
Chukwuma said, “Right now, his immediate need is nourishment in terms of food and a safe place to live in because the hospital environment can be hostile. We do not know which patients can be coming next and which illnesses they will be bringing.
“So, for a child like this to stay in the hospital without necessarily being ill, is exposing him to danger. So, this child needs to be moved out of danger as soon as possible.”
He added that only the boy’s parents could provide the kind of a conducive environment required for people in his situation.
Chukwuma assured that all necessary arrangements would be made to ensure that the child was taken away from the hospital environment to a safer haven.
The consultant said, “Since the family cannot take care of him, it now falls on the social workers to carry on the responsibility. But as it stands now, that is not readily available. From experience, what the parents would do under this kind of circumstances is that they will go home and tell neighbours that the child is dead.
“The parents are in the best position to look after that child because they are the ones that can provide the love that the child needs. So, our priority was to locate the family and give them back the child. But since that failed, the option is to look at the orphanages that can take care of him.”
On her part, the hospital’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Success Obire, appealed to the state government and private individuals to come to Orode’s rescue, saying that the hospital management lacked the resources to take adequate care of the boy.