Some angry students of UNIPORT had blocked the entrance of the UPTH in protest over the circumstances that led to the death of Yemitheplug, who until his demise was a graduating student of the school.
There is palpable tension at the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport) and the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers State, following the death of a graduating student and social media influencer, popularly known as Yemitheplug.
Yemitheplug, whose real name was Folorunsho Michael, was said to have suffered an asthmatic attack in the wee hours of the morning and was rushed to the UPTH where he passed on.
Following his death, his friends, who were visibly infuriated, went on the spur-of-the-moment protest, where they temporarily blocked the entrance into the teaching hospital, demanding an explanation to how their friend, who they said was conveyed there alive, ended up dead.
One of the deceased’s friends who did not want his name mentioned alleged that Yemi was not attended to because the nurses said they did not have Oxygen for him.
The student said, “He was brought in to the UPTH around 4am. When he was in the hospital, the nurse refused to attend to him. They told her (nurse) that he is the son of the Deputy Director of Nursing in the UPTH.
“On hearing that, she (the nurse) was now asking for identification. At this point, his mum came and was now attending to her son and they were trying to resuscitate him.
“One of the nurses there said she should not bother that her son was dead and started holding her back.”
Another student, who also pleaded anonymity for fear of being victimised, told newsmen that he suspected a foul play in the handling of the patient, as an official claimed that Yemi was already dead when his friends brought him to the hospital.
“The thing is even without having to speak to them, there are already many differences because what an official is saying is that the patient was brought in dead.
“But categorically we are telling you that that is not what happened. The time of death on the Coroner’s office says 6:02am. But the patient was brought in around 4am.
“If the patient was brought in around 4am and the time of death is 6:02am, you do the deduction yourself,” he said.
He insisted that the nurses did not attend to them until they were informed that he was the son of one of their staff, then one of them came.
“I was at home when I started hearing noise, only to go down and saw Yemi gasping for breath. So, we tried to do our best, and knowing it was an odd hour, we had to rush him to the hospital.
“When we got there, at first somebody just came, pointed torchlight at him and just left us like that.
“When we told that this person the mother works here. That was when they came back. And it took about 15 to 20 minutes before they came back. And they just concluded that he was dead,” he fumed.
Meanwhile, the management of the UPTH has sympathised with family and friends of the late Port Harcourt-based social media influencer.
The Acting Public Relations Officer of the UPTH, Elabha Meni, in a statement said the hospital witnessed a large turnout of friends who had been asking about the circumstances that led to the death of the influencer.
Meni said the management had begun action so as to ascertain the true position of things, saying a preliminary report showed that the patient was brought in dead.
The statement read, “The Management of the UPTH sympathises with friends and family of Folorunsho Michael, also known as Yemitheplug, who passed away in the early hours of today, Tuesday, 29th November 2022.
“The Hospital has witnessed a large turnout of friends who have been asking to know the circumstances which led to his death.
“Management has begun actions to ascertain the true position of things. Preliminary report is that the Patient was brought in Dead (BID). However, management will investigate and attend to the matter appropriately.
“We sincerely empathise with the mother who is also one of us, a Deputy Director in our Nursing Department.”
Meanwhile, speaking on the incident on a popular Radio station in Port Harcourt, monitored by our correspondent on Wednesday morning, the Chairman, UPTH Medical Advisory Committee, Prof. Lucky Onotai, also said an investigation would be launched.
“Three hours ago, I got a call from the head of Nursing who told me that there is a particular patient that was brought in dead into the Emergency.
“And the story was that the student had an asthmatic attack while in his lodge and that the inhaler didn’t work. Before they could rush the student to the A and E (Accident and Emergency), it was confirmed that he was already dead.
“So, at that point she got the report and escalated it to me. And what I did immediately was to call the head of A and E. And she confirmed exactly what was reported,” he said.
Prof. Onotai added, “We will set up a panel of inquiry. That is definitely what anybody does. We need to look at the facts, we look at the report critically and deal with it in its own merit.
“Rest assured that here as an institution, for fairness, equity and justice, everything will be done according to the rules.”
When contacted, the President, Student Union Government, University of Port Harcourt, Gift Ubabuike, said the school authority was not taking the matter lightly.
Ubabuike said it was not the first time a student of the university would pass on from negligence as alleged by Yemi’s friends.
“Yemi is supposed to convoke next week. I am a member of a panel that has been set up to unravel the delay and the negligence that led to his death, as alleged by Yemi’s friends.
“Until that panel is done with their investigation, we can’t say much. But the management is not taking it lightly because this is not the first time a student is dying out of negligence.
“The last time a student slumped on the field and he was rushed there. Before the nurses came, according to the UPTH official, they said the student was brought in dead. But we want a situation that there will be proper synergy and priority given to students that have health issues whenever they are taken to the UPTH,” the UNIPORT SUG president said.