Drama ensued at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu as patients held doctors and some management staff hostage for refusing them access to medical treatment following ongoing strike by health workers.
Newsmen who visited the hospital in Enugu on Friday report that the patients and their relatives blocked the main entrance to the hospital and prevented movements.
Some of the patients told newsmen that since they were discharged, they could not pay their bills due to absence of account officers adding that the security prevented them from leaving without obtaining clearance from the management.
One of the patients who spoke in anonymity said that due to pressure on the management, a director in the accounts department attended to very few of them but could not ascertain the bills.
“On Thursday, we waited for the cashiers to attend to us but in vain until a director in the accounts department came to our rescue and unfortunately, he could not trace our folders.
“Today, the man is nowhere to be found and all efforts to reach him on phone failed. Many of us are dying and we are not allowed to seek medical attention elsewhere until we clear our bills,’’ the patient said.
Another patient, Mr Oliver said he was booked for a surgery but could not leave the hospital adding that he had made alternative plans for the operation but the security prevented them from leaving the hospital.
“I am in serious pains and my wound has not been dressed for three days. I was booked for a surgery and my doctor said I needed to be operated urgently before it becomes gangrenous,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, some management staff pleaded with the patients to remain calm as efforts are being made to clear them.
Efforts to reach the Chief Medical Director, Dr C.U. Nwadinigwe failed but the Head of Accounts and Finance, Mr Titus Madu surfaced around 12.30 pm and started attending to the patients.
Newsmen report that the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) comprising all paramedics including nurses, laboratory attendants and administrative staff of Federal Government health institutions across the country on Wednesday embarked on an indefinite strike.