The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH mortuary attendants, have been accused of removing the eyes of a dead child, an 18-month-old twin named Chuma who died of anaemia in the hospital’s children’s ward on August 3, 2018.
The father of the dead child who had gone back to pay the mortuary bill two weeks later, discovered to his horror that the corpse they brought out for him had been mutilated and the UPTH mortuary attendants could not account for how, when or why the body parts got missing.
The father of the dead child who spoke to Satturday Sun’s correspondent said;
“Even while the baby was still breathing, one of the nurses had approached me and asked me to pay N30,000 to have the baby buried somewhere. That got me annoyed. From that moment, they became nonchalant, claiming they were waiting for the blood test until the child died.”
It was gathered that the couple travelled to Ughelli, where their families had encouraged them to bring the body home for burial.
“I went to the mortuary on September 17 to pay the bill and retrieve the corpse,” continued the distraught dad. “I had N20, 000 with me. But after taking the money, the attendant informed me my total bill was N56, 000. I requested to see the corpse of my baby. But to my surprise, when he brought out the baby’s corpse, the two eyes had been removed.”
According to the father of the dead child, he was prevented from taking pictures of the corpse.
“I had called my wife on phone and relayed the news to her. I broke down and wept. I was so angry I wanted to fight the mortuary attendants. Eventually, I abandoned the corpse to them.”
“That very day, I reported the case to the Rivers State Police Command; the next day, I got in touch with my lawyer and we wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police on September 18.”
The family abandoned the corpse of the baby with the hospital, after UPTH mortuary attendants presented a corpse whose eyes were plugged with cotton buds.
“Till today, the question I am asking the mortuary attendants is, what happened to the two eyes of my baby?” Sunday stated.
Though neither doctors nor nurses were willing to talk to the reporter, however the Commissioner of Police Ahmed Zaki confirmed that “the family of the deceased, Mr Eze Sunday wrote a petition to me on September 18, and we immediately started the investigation.”
Zaki affirmed that the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of SCID personally took charge of the case.
“We sent an invitation letter to the board of UPTH,” he said. It was gathered that UPTH snubbed the meeting scheduled for September 22, keeping the aggrieved family, as well as the commissioner of police and his deputy waiting for over three hours. At the end of the day, no representative of the hospital showed up.
While the police subsequently scheduled another meeting while they continue their investigation, four mortuary attendants in the hospital have been arrested by the police for interrogation.