Master Omonigho Abraham, the four-year-old boy who sustained extensive injuries to his body and life threatening avulsion injuries to his scalp following a vicious attack by two Alsatian dogs, has been discharged against medical advice by his father, Odia Abraham.
The younger Abraham was being treated at the Burns & Plastics unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
He was attacked in the compound of their rented apartment at 35, Adegboyega Street, Akesan, Igando area of Lagos State on September 29, 2014.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who made this known on Monday while reviewing the report of the plastic surgery specialists in LASUTH who attended to Omonigho, stated that the boy’s father took the step and chose to take his son out of the hands of the plastic surgery specialists in LASUTH on November 28, 2014.
Idris said this was against medical advice after being thoroughly counselled that healthy granulation tissue growing on his son’s skull must not be interrupted.
He said all attempts to talk Mr. Abraham out of taking the step were rebuffed by the man who even signed necessary papers to show his desperation.
Idris, while explaining the involvement of the state government in the management of Omonigho’s health, said that the attention of the Lagos State Government, particularly that of Governor Babatunde Fashola, was drawn to the case of the boy, who was initially rushed to the Igando General Hospital, where he was stabilized and wounds cleaned by the medical team at the Accidents & Emergency ward of the hospital.
The Commissioner added that Omonigho was thereafter referred to the Burns & Plastics unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, where Specialists in Plastic Surgery assessed him and promptly began to manage the life threatening avulsion injuries on his scalp, which left most of his skull exposed.
The plastic surgery team, he said, placed the boy on intravenous medication, intravenous fluids and daily wound dressing in order to ensure that health granulation tissue can grow and cover the scalp before a skin graft can be successfully performed.
He said the definitive management of Omonigho’s type of extensive and deep wounds is a skin graft.
Idris added that when news of the sad and outrageous event was brought to the notice of Fashola, he was deeply moved with compassion like everyone else and directed that young Omonigho Abraham be offered everything that will ensure that he not only survives the injuries, but recovers optimally so that his opportunity to reach his full potential is not tarnished by the unfortunate accident.
According to the Commissioner, the directive by the governor ensured that Omonigho would receive the best of care at no charge to his parents or family members.
He said Omonigho’s father was thereafter invited to the state Ministry of Health where he received full re-imbursement for expenses he incurred previously in the management of his son’s health.
Idris said: “He was given a full exemption from paying any fees for the management of his son’s health at LASUTH during his stay there and Omonigho, while recovering, wrote a little ‘thank you’ letter to the governor.”
Idris noted that whilst conservative wound management was being done in the Burns and Plastic Ward in LASUTH, the Lagos State Government set plans in motion to take Omonigho abroad for further management, where all expenses incurred would be covered by the state government.
He added that his parents were informed of every step of the process and had close and continuous contact with the state Ministry of Health.
He said: “After a thorough search, a suitable hospital was found that would care for the young boy.
“The chosen facility was the RAK Hospital, Dubai, UAE.
“LASUTH established a communication channel with RAK Hospital and it was determined that Omonigho would require a meshed skin graft coverage of the exposed skull for the next phase of his management.
“The governor thus approved the funds for the management of Omonigho, which includes travelling, feeding and accommodation at the RAK Hospital in Dubai, UAE.”
Idris noted that the boy’s father was promptly informed of the plan and was invited to the state Ministry of Health to discuss the details of the approval, travel plans and hospital arrangements and was thereafter given a letter of approval stating the plans to fly his son abroad and was asked to provide his son’s passport with an accompanying family member in order to process visas and other travel requirements.
He added: “However, Mr. Abraham informed us that a Non-Governmental Organisation from Delta State has made arrangements to fly him and his son for medical treatment at a hospital in India.
“He was counselled on the benefits of receiving the package offered by the Lagos State Government and was also advised to put forward his decision as soon as possible so that the necessary arrangements can be made to transfer his son and a family member of his choice to Dubai for the treatment.”
He added that the state government, in an effort to ensure the best care possible for Omonigho, also offered to support Abraham if he would rather go to India.
He said this was done in the hope that he would be getting the best care possible from the unnamed hospital in India, being sponsored by the NGO.
The Commissioner noted that Abraham, however, for reasons best known to him, chose to take his son out of the hands of the plastic surgery specialists in LASUTH on Friday against medical advice.
He said: “The surgical team explained to Mr. Abraham that it was pertinent that the healthy granulation tissue growing on his son’s skull through the careful, thorough and expert care of the Plastic Surgery team must not be interrupted as this may cause infections to set in and slow the healing process as well as delay any definitive reconstructive surgery.
“But Mr. Abraham, unfortunately, took the ill-advised step to leave the facility after being thoroughly counselled by the specialist.”