Sunday, September 11, 2011

A woman killed daughter, attempted suicide over hospital bill.

On the night of August 21, Blessing Ukah (whose name police initially misspelt as 'Ekeh') sneaked outside a maternity home where she'd been confined, allegedly stole petrol kept for fuelling the hospital's power generating set, and fed her three month old baby. The baby died. And Miss Ukah, 18, was arrested by the officers of the Homicide Department of the State Criminal Investigation Department at Panti, Yaba, where she is currently being detained.

The police are also charging Miss Ukah for alleged suicide after she also drank the petrol she fed her baby in a maternity home at Oshodi.

Trouble started for Miss Ukah on May 16 when she visited Ayoradex Health and Maternity Home at 66 Boladale Street, Oshodi, to deliver her baby. According to the nurses at the hospital, who requested anonymity, Miss Ukah was unable to give birth and the hospital doctors had to carry out a caesarean operation on her.

The caesarean operation cost N100,000 which Miss Ukah and her boyfriend, a commercial motorcycle rider, were unable to pay.

Following her inability to pay the hospital bills, Miss Ukah was allegedly "detained" and confined to the hospital premises pending the time she can pay her bills.

"Blessing came to the hospital on May 16 to give birth and the hospital had to carry out a caesarean section on her because she was unable to give birth normally," said a source at the hospital.

"Usually, she was supposed to pay N100,000 as her hospital bill before the operation will be conducted but the hospital took pity on her and did the operation."

The source said that after the caesarean operation, Miss Ukah's boyfriend came and paid an initial sum of N29,000, and then another N21,000 but the hospital management said they would not free her until she pays all the money.

"So since that May 16, they refused to discharge her and her baby and she was confined to the hospital premises and the nurses were told to keep an eye on her so she will not escape," the source added.

For three months, Miss Ukah and her baby were confined within the hospital premises and her plea that she has no family member to assist her foot her medical bills fell on deaf ears. It was gathered that on August 25, Miss Ukah had a scuffle with one of the nurses which led to a verbal abuse, an incident which, sources say, prompted her to kill herself.

"One of the nurses told Blessing the story of her life, insulting her and calling her names like debtor and ashewo (prostitute)," said a source at the hospital who did not want to be named.

"Blessing also replied her. Later that night, we noticed that she was not happy and when nobody was watching she went to the back of the compound where we keep the fuel and then drank some quantity, she also fed her baby with the fuel."

During a routine check of the wards, it was discovered that Miss Ukah was no longer on her bed. "As we were trying to find out her whereabouts, some other nurses tried to stop the baby from crying but they noticed that the baby was dying and they rushed to save her while calling on the doctor, it was after (about) twenty minutes of searching for Blessing that we saw her lying near the generator room at the back of the house and gasping for breath."

The source also added that they tried to revive Miss Ukah and her child but the baby died from the fuel ingestion.

"We noticed that Blessing had drunk fuel and given some to her baby, we rushed and called the doctor who came in that night to treat her but the baby died shortly after due to the fuel," the source said.

Following the incident, the hospital said they invited officers from the Akinpelu police station at Oshodi who subsequently arrested Miss Ukah after she had attempted to escape. Her boyfriend was also arrested but granted bail; the case was later transferred to the Homicide section at Panti, Yaba, for thorough investigation.

It was gathered that the police officers from Panti visited the hospital and arrested the matron for illegal detention of a patient but efforts by the police to arrest the hospital director were not successful as he was said to be ill in an undisclosed hospital in Osun state.

It was also gathered that the police shut down the hospital but the hospital has since reopened for business.

Miss Ukah however declined to spoke with journalists about the incident.

"I am not in a mood to talk, you can go and come back maybe when I am in the mood I can talk to you but for now I'm not in the mood so you can come back later," she told journalists.

However, in a statement she made to the police, Miss Ukah said she had been facing challenges in life and was frustrated and depressed which led her to attempt suicide.

"I am from a poor family and after my parents died, I was rejected by other family members," the statement read. "They disowned me and I have to come to Lagos in 2005 to stay with my friend's mother, after my friend's mother died last year, I was chased out of the house and I ended up with an Okada man who got me pregnant," she said.

"I did not intend to kill my child. I was frustrated with all the troubles of life and I wanted to end my life so that was what led me to drinking the fuel; I did not give my daughter fuel to drink, it was after I drank some to kill myself then I breast-fed her before running away," the statement read.


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