By Simeon OSAJIE
The Lagos State government has sacked and blacklisted the Facility Managers responsible and suspended the General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA), in view of an investigation into the tragic death of Dr Diaso Vwaere from an elevator crash at General Hospital Odan.
Recall Vwaere’s death last Tuesday was met with outrage following reports of her death resulting from an elevator that plunged several floors at the house officers’ quarters of the hospital and unsuccessful efforts to revive her.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Olumide Sogunle, in a statement on Sunday, revealed the initial findings of its panel of inquiry, saying the state government had taken several actions.
In addition to the sacking and blacklisting of the facility managers, and the LASIAMA boss’s immediate suspension, Sogunle disclosed that the operations and line of reporting of the facility managers had been restructured to involve the hospital management directly.
“We have handed the installation and maintenance contractors to the police for further investigation and likely prosecution if they are found culpable. The police will also investigate anyone else that might have been found to be negligent,” the statement said.
The press statement read: “PRESS STATEMENT ON AUGUST 1st ELEVATOR ACCIDENT AT GENERAL HOSPITAL, ODAN, LAGOS
“The Lagos State Government would like to, once again, acknowledge with deep regret the unfortunate elevator accident of Tuesday, 1st August 2023 at the House Officer’s residence of the General Hospital, Odan, which resulted in the death of Dr. Vwaere Diaso, a vibrant young house officer.
“We commiserate with her family and her colleagues and pray for the repose of her soul. As a Government, we feel the pain of this irreparable loss. May The Almighty console them and give them the strength to go through this difficult time.
“The Lagos State Government, 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.
“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.
“The panel has now concluded its deliberations and submitted its report.
“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 8.13pm and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) commenced. This went on until 8.59pm when she was pronounced dead.
“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.
“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.
“Based on our initial findings the Lagos State Government has taken the following actions:
“We have sacked and blacklisted the Facility Managers
“The GM of Lagos State Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency is to immediately proceed on suspension
“The operations and line of reporting of the facility managers have been restructured to involve the hospital management directly.
:We have handed the installation and maintenance contractors to the police for further investigation and likely prosecution if they are found culpable. The police will also investigate anyone else that might have been found to be negligent
“Engineers are working to unravel why all the safety devices of the elevator failed at the same time.
“All our staff are fully insured. We have informed our life insurance providers about this incident.
“The Lagos Safety Commission has been directed to immediately carry out an audit of all elevators in public offices. This is besides the usual safety arrangements that have always existed.”
Ministry of Information and Strategy.
6th August 2023.