A pained couple in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. cries out to the world to come to their aid after their new born baby is allegedly stolen at KASOMENE FAITH CITY HOSPITAL in Port Harcourt. They are due for a visit to the State Criminal Investigation Department, today Friday 14th August, 2020. This is the voice of Caleb Karuna — the man whose child was allegedly stolen.
My name Caleb Karuna this is my story.
We were practicing safe sex and didn’t know when she got pregnant. As soon as the signs became eminent and confirmed, we initiated her antenatal medical classes in January, 2020, at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).
During one of the sessions she was told to go for scan at the teaching hospital. She went but later complained to me that the radiologist said it wasn’t too clear and the baby was not stationed in one place to be able to ascertain the sex. She also mentioned that there was a complaint by the operator, about the machine at that material instant. It wasn’t an issue at the time because she would still be sent for another scan as the pregnancy advances.
In the process of time, the issues of Covid-19 became prominent and the enactment of total lockdown and curfew in Port Harcourt prevented her from going to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital for want of mobility, distance and other fears. I wasn’t around in town and encouraged her to look for a nearby hospital she can go to in case of an emergency. She went to KASOMENE FAITH CITY HOSPITAL situated at No. 5 Shell Location Road, Off Ada George Road, Wimpey, Rumukpakani, Port Harcourt and inquired of their registration and promised she’ll be back afterwards. Due to some financial constraints she couldn’t return back immediately, and with the lockdown and curfew in place it took a while to return to the hospital.
On my return home in Port Harcourt from Bonny Island, the incessant complaints of her pregnancy status got me worried and when there was a lift of the lockdown, we quickly went to the hospital to conclude formal registration and prepare for delivery. It was clear to me that she was getting close to delivery.
Immediately the registration was done on the 9th of June, 2020 and several tests were conducted and an ultrasound scan was done. The scan report indicated it was a twin gestation. I was there when the radiologist conducted the scan.
The following day I went with my wife to see the doctor. The doctor saw the results, mentioned to me if I’m aware that my wife is having multiple pregnancy and I replied in the affirmative. He further asked if there was any history of twins in our families.
He advised she should get ready for a caesarian as one of the babies is breached while the other is sitting with the bottom ready to come out. The scan result further mentioned that her pregnancy was already term and that her water level is very low. According to the Doctor it would be suicidal to wait for labour to set in as the EDD is 22nd June according to the report.
We prepared and got ready for the operation and delivery of the twins. She was placed on admission on the 17th of June and the operation was slated to be executed on 18th June, 2020. I was demanded to make a deposit of N200,000 that morning of 18th June but I pleaded I had only N100,000 to deposit. In an attempt to use the ATM and make the payment, the assistant Doctor insisted I drop 50% cash and make 50% transfer. I wasn’t with cash and had to run out quickly to get the cash.
On my return with the cash my wife had already been taken into the theatre. I made attempt to go into the theatre but I was not allowed in. After a while,as the operation was ongoing, I got a call from one of the nurses that I’m needed in the theatre. I quickly got kitted and went into the theatre. The Doctor then told me it’s just one baby and not two, and asked if he should go ahead with the tubal ligation we earlier agreed on. My wife was on the bed opened up and I told the Doctor to go ahead and do the tubal ligation, that I do not want her life risked anymore.
As I came out of the theatre room, I walked into another room where the baby was already dressed and laid and placed on Oxygen. I quickly asked what’s the problem and why is he on Oxygen? That day I was later referred to OMEGA HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN situated at Ada George Road, for special care of the baby. N50,000 was demanded as deposit and I spent that night at OMEGA with the baby.
The following day I went back to KASOMENE FAITH CITY HOSPITAL to see my wife. Immediately she saw me she asked of her baby. I brought out the pictures I had taken and showed her. That was the moment she asked of the second baby and I was dumbfounded. I told her it was only one baby the Doctors brought out but she refused and said it was two. It was at this point she asked the hospital to give her her scan result and her second baby. I told her to remain calm and that I’ll get the scan result for her. I made several requests and attempts for the scan result to be given to us as it was our property but the hospital refused.
As soon as the baby under special care was discharged from OMEGA HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN after 6 days of admission having paid 129k as discharge bill I went straight to the Doctor at KASOMENE FAITH CITY HOSPITAL and decried the manner with which this issue was handled (I had so much respect for him as an elderly person). My wife now seemingly strong and agitated called a police officer who happens to be a family member and reported the issue on ground.
The Police officer requested for the doctor’s mobile number and called him. To my greatest surprise, the doctor denied I and my wife made demands for the scan result and the doctor’s wife mentioned that the police officer in Lagos has no jurisdiction to be requesting for the scan results. Based on their refusal to release the scan result to us and the information from the police officer in Lagos I went to the Rumukpakani Divisional Police Station located at Ada George Road, Port Harcourt and lodged my complaints. The Police invited them for questioning and in the process the Doctor gave the police the scan result.
I confronted them the next day and they told me boldly that the scan result is with the police now. Our stay in the hospital was becoming unfriendly and I demanded for my discharge bill. The Doctor wrote N250,000 as the discharge and I said I could only offer N120,000 in addition to the N100,000 I had earlier deposited.
This later became an issue, as the assistant doctor being furious owing to the agitations said my balance is N250,000. We quarrelled over this, but finally I paid the N120,000 and took my wife and baby out of the clinic. I immediately got my lawyer into the matter. My lawyer wrote a petition to the clinic and made demand for the second baby and the scan report. The process seemed slow considering the gravity of the matter in question. It became pertinent after two weeks of a seemingly delayed action, following the meeting at the Rumukpakani Divisional Police Station.
I went straight with my lawyer and reported the matter at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The State CID is currently investigating the matter and I’m getting worried. It’s now past seven weeks post-delivery and the emotional and psychological trauma is becoming unbecoming, but we believe we shall get justice and our baby recovered. The State CID has called and asked both parties to be available for a meeting on Friday 14th August, 2020.
From the vivid and graphical explanations of my wife, on what transpired in the delivery room during the operation, a lot calls for questioning and the process wasn’t transparent. It’s not her first child and it’s not her first time to undergo a caesarian. She was awake and her eyes were open during the operation. They made the first pull and concealed it from her. They made the second pull and still did not show her the baby as its normally done.
I have sent a complaint to NAPTIP (The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) Zonal Command in Uyo and will involve any other body that can help us in getting justice and recovering our baby.
It’s not been easy for me financially wrestling this matter and seeking justice and recovery of our baby. I am using this medium to call on men and women of goodwill and conscience to come to my aid and help me.
Caleb Y. K. Karuna