The University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) has suspended Professor Alakija Salami as one of its Senior Consultants over a controversy regarding the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
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In a statement issued by David Odaibo, UITH Director of Administration, on Monday, Salami was suspended for allegedly breaching the hospital’s protocol by admitting and subsequently releasing the corpse of a patient suspected to have contracted the virus.
The patient, a male returnee from the United Kingdom, died last Friday at the hospital.
“The Management of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital hereby suspends Prof A.K. Salami as a Senior Consultant in the hospital. This is as a result of his unethical conduct in the admission, management and eventual release of the corpse of a suspected COVID-19 patient who died in the hospital on the 3rd of April, 2020,” the statement read.
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UITH had come under fire from Nigerians, particularly from social media users, over its alleged complicity in the covering up of the death and evacuation of the deceased from the hospital.
But according to the tertiary health institution, Salami concealed the deceased patient’s travel history and provided false information on the individual’s medical condition.
The hospital stated that Salami, a specialist in infectious diseases, explained that the patient only had a history of abdominal discomfort and stooling, following ingestion of rotten pineapples.
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The patient was then admitted and managed as a case of ‘food poisoning’ and the patient later died in the early hours of the following day, UITH said.
Also, Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesperson for Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, said in an interview on Monday that the deceased developed difficulty breathing symptoms and was rushed to UITH, where he was pronounced dead.
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Ajakaye, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, said there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that the deceased had Coronavirus, adding that the late patient was buried in the Offa area of the state.
“There is no fact at this moment to support suggestions that a male patient who died on Thursday night at the UNILORIN Teaching Hospital was a COVID-19 patient. The deceased, a Muslim, was promptly taken to Offa, his hometown, where he was interned on Thursday,” he told the Punch.
Kwara State on Monday had its first two confirmed cases of Coronavirus- the wife of a UNILORIN Teaching Hospital patient, who is also a UK returnee, and another UK returnee; according to Ajakaye.