Doctor’s death: Lagos hospital cites contractor change for delayed installation of elevator after PUNCH Healthwise report

The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, has attributed the halt in the renovation and installation of a new elevator at the doctor’s residence of the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, to a change in the contractor handling the project for technical reasons.

This was contained in a statement by Ogboye, in reaction to PUNCH Healthwise’s follow-up report on the Lagos State government’s inability to renovate the doctor’s residence and to install a new elevator five months after the ill-fated crash that claimed the life of a House Officer, Dr Vwaere Diaso, on August 1, 2023.

PUNCH Healthwise had in January reported that five months after the elevator incident, there was no sign of a new elevator or ongoing renovation within the doctor’s residence and on other old buildings in the 131-year-old hospital.

In the earlier report, PUNCH Healthwise contacted the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso and the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, and they both insisted that the contract to replace the lift and renovate the building had been awarded to the contractors.

However, during a recent visit to the hospital by PUNCH Healthwise, there was still no sign of a billboard indicating ongoing renovation.

One of the House Officers who spoke with PUNCH Healthwise on the condition of anonymity stated that a billboard indicating the commencement of construction work, initially erected at the front of the residence had been removed the previous week before PUNCH Healthwise visits.

The doctor explained that since the billboard was removed, they had no information on when the construction work would continue.

The HO further mentioned that renovation works like “Removal of doors had begun from the 10th to the 7th floor. So for now, we all occupy buildings from the 6th to the last floor.”

The doctor lamented, “Climbing the stairs multiple times in a day after having a long day attending to patients has been tough.”

PUNCH Healthwise had reported that the building’s elevator plunged at 6:50 pm on August 1, 2023, while Diaso was inside the lift and on her way to the ground floor to meet a dispatch rider.

Several details on the incident were disseminated but information from the panel set up by the state government on the case stated that the doctor did not die immediately after the crash but was trapped in the plunged and damaged elevator for an hour before being extracted and provided medical care.

The state’s Ministry of Information and Strategy Permanent Secretary, Olumide Sogunle, had in a statement noted that after several attempts to resuscitate the doctor failed, she was pronounced dead at 8:59 pm.

A few days after the doctor’s burial, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after a visit to the hospital, posted on his Instagram page that he spoke to some house officers and “they gave me an insight into their needs, and I gave my word that we have already got on it.”

Responding to the reasons for the delay and removal of the initial contractor, Ogboye told PUNCH Healthwise, “There is a new contractor for the renovation of the building but the lift contractor remains the same. The lift has been ordered for and it takes a while for it to come in and it will not be installed until the building renovation is done.”

He further explained that the contractor, “Should have been mobilised to the site and have begun work.”

When PUNCH Healthwise informed Ogboye of the removal of the building contractor’s construction billboard at the doctor’s residence, Ogboye insisted that the contractor was supposed to be on the site.

However, the PS confirmed that the building contractor had been changed for “technical reasons.”

He said, “The contract has been awarded. The contractor should be on site. If the contractor is not on site now, a new contractor should be on site by next week.

“For technical reasons, we changed the contractor. We found a contractor that was more acceptable to all stakeholders.”


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