#LekkiShooting: Our hospital was overwhelmed on first night — Surgeon


The number of patients shot or injured at the Lekki toll gate shooting, who were brought to Reddington Hospital, were so many that they overwhelmed the hospital, an official has said.

Babajide Lawson, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at Reddington Hospital, Lagos, on Saturday said there was a large number of patients on the night of October 20, after soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll plaza.

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According to a report by Premium Times, Mr Lawson, while testifying before a Judicial Panel of Inquiry investigating the incident, said due to the crowd, there is a likelihood that the hospital did not capture the records of all the patients.

“On the night of this event, in the Lekki facility, when patients were brought in, it was a mass gathering situation in which case you have a large number of people presenting at the same time, literarily overwhelming the facility,” Mr Lawson said.

“In that kind of situation, there are lots of cases that might be compromised. If this patient says he was treated at the hospital, he can present at the hospital and get a medical report.”

The surgeon spoke during cross-examination by a lawyer to some of the victims of the shooting, Olumide Fusika, who asked him whether he authored any of the medical reports tendered to the panel.

Mr Lawson said he did not author any of the reports as it was the duty of doctors handling the patients.

“You will agree that there is none for Samuel Asola, who is a petitioner before this panel and my own client,” Mr Fusika had said.

“This client of mine says he was treated of gunshot wounds at your facility. He has pictorial proof of being actually treated. If that were to be true, it means your evidence before this panel is not comprehensive, it is not exhaustive of the people you treated of gunshot of wounds.”

The lawyer further asked whether the hospital extracted pellets from the patients as there were many cases of gunshots, especially in the case of Nnaji Mabel who had a pellet in her abdomen.

“As indicated in the report, we did not extract the pellet. I admitted the responsibility, we reviewed her CT and records, we determined that she did not need anything extensive, and she was treated and allowed to go,” the surgeon responded.

“It’s normal to have pellets in your body and just go home?” Mr Fusika further queried.

“Yes, it is possible. If there is a gunshot injury and the bullet does not in any way endanger the body, the pellet can remain,” Mr Lawson said.

The surgeon said some pellets were removed but, according to medical protocols, the police will be invited and the pellets handed over to them.

He added that other patients sustained “entry” and “exit” bullet wounds.

“In normal process, protocol is that if there is a gunshot injury and extracted the bullet, the police will have to come and the bullet be handed over.

“For the patients I treated, I did not extract any bullet; the patient that had pellet did not require a removal,” he said.

Earlier, while giving his evidence, Mr Lawson said the number of victims of the shooting who visited the hospital trickled after the first night.

“Being in charge of trauma means anybody that is involved in any form of traumatic injury, accident, gunshot and others will have to go through me first. I saw a couple of them, the ones that needed admission, I admitted and the ones that did not were taken care of.

“The thing is on that October 20, a lot of patients presented at the Lekki office, that’s the Lekki hospital. I was shuttling between there and the VI office, which I represent.

“Later on the night of 20th, I also went to the Lekki office to access and determine what amount of assistance they would require from me. I transferred some of the patients from the Lekki Hospital to the VI office.

“On the first night, there were about six patients that I saw, subsequently, other patients came, trickled in, as days continued.”

The surgeon said the patients had varying degrees of injuries and were treated.

The hospital had earlier appeared before the panel on January 6, to represent medical reports of about 20 patients who were brought to the hospital on the night of the Lekki Shooting.

Dorris Okuwobi, the chair of the panel, adjourned the matter till February 12 to allow the state government’s lawyer cross-examine Mr Lawson.