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There was no shortage of blood — LASG issues update on elevator crash investigation

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The Lagos State Government has revealed investigations are still ongoing over the elevator incident that killed a house officer, Dr Vwaere Diaso at the General Hospital, Odan in Lagos on Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

In a press release posted on its social media platforms, the state government expressed regret over the incident and commiserated with the family and colleagues of the deceased doctor while praying for the repose of her soul.

According to the statement, the government said it outsourced the affairs of the House Officers Quarters to a facility management company for the comfort of health workers, adding that the Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA) is in charge of the company’s activities

“LASG, in recognition of the importance of providing functional and comfortable accommodation for health workers, outsourced the management of the House Officers Quarters to a facility management company. The Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA) oversees the activities of the facility management company.”

The state government also revealed that a panel was set up consisting of representatives of the Medical Guild and six representatives of House Officers for transparency to identify the cause of the incident and how to prevent such in the future.

“Following the incident, we immediately set up a panel to look into its likely causes, identify persons who might be culpable, and suggest ways of preventing any future occurrence.
For transparency, the membership of the panel included representatives of the Medical Guild and six representatives of House Officers.

Based on the report submitted by the panel, the LASG confirmed that the incident occurred around 6:50 pm, the late Dr Vweare was extracted one hour after and wheeled to the emergency room.

There, she was attended to by a medical team led by an experienced consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon and joined by two consultant anaesthetists, including the Medical Director who intubated her, but unfortunately, she stopped breathing and was pronounced dead at 8:59 pm.

“According to its findings, the incident happened around 6.50 pm. Due to the impact, the elevator doors were damaged and needed to be forced open to rescue the trapped house officer. She was extracted at about 7.50 pm and resuscitation commenced immediately. She was wheeled to the emergency room and was immediately attended to by a medical team led by a highly experienced consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon.

“The team was assisted by all house officers who were present at the time. The initial objectives were to ensure a clear airway, maintain breathing, and establish circulation. The team was also joined by two consultant anaesthetists, including the Medical Director, who intubated the patient. Despite all the efforts, she stopped breathing around 8.13 pm and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) commenced. This went on until 8.59pm when she was pronounced dead.

The state government, however, denied the news about blood not being available, stating that blood was not requested at the time the CPR was being done.

“It is important to state that blood samples for cross-matching had not been taken and there had not been a request for blood at the time CPR commenced; it is not true that blood was not available. The State has a strong network of screening centres where blood is available. Besides, there is a register of voluntary donors who can be mobilised at very short notice.

On the issue of the elevator, the LASG said it was newly installed in 2021 but elevator experts with the Lagos Safety Commission are conducting extensive information on why the safety features failed. This is to determine if a case would be filed against the elevator installer.

“It is also important to state that the elevator that crashed was installed brand new in 2021. Elevator experts working with the Lagos Safety Commission have carried out an initial inspection and will be removing the elevator for further mechanical examination to determine why the safety features that should prevent this kind of accident did not work. Their findings will determine if we have a case with the elevator installer.

Consequently, it stated that the facility manager has been sacked and the general manager of the LASIAMA suspended.

Going forward, “The operations and line of reporting of the facility managers have been restructured to involve the hospital management directly” and the installation and maintenance contractors have been handed over to the police for further investigation and likely prosecution.

The LASG also reiterated that all members of its staff are insured, and the life insurance providers have been notified of the incident

To avoid any such occurrences across the state’s public offices, the Lagos Safety Commission has been directed to carry out an audit of all elevators in public offices.

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