UNICAL suspends four staffs over student’s death

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By Adejayan Gbenga Gsong


The University of Calabar has suspended four staffs of the institution’s medical center over the death of Ms. Precious Agindi, a third-year student of the institution’s department of Library and Information Science.  Agindi died on January 28 at the institution’s Medical Center.

Prof. Florence Obi


Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, who briefed newsmen after receiving the autopsy report, said that the staffs were placed on the suspension for showing lack of “emotional commitment” to the deceased. Prof. Obi said that the report of the autopsy scientifically and medically detailed a clear and conclusive cause of death of the student who was only brought to the medical center at a very critical state where she died in less than an hour later.

She said: “For emphasis, let me categorically state that the death of Ms Precious Agindi had nothing to do with the rumored ruptured appendicitis as her appendix was found at autopsy to be healthy, not inflamed and intact. This regrettable incident sparked very strong emotions, students’ demonstrations on that fateful day and a lot of misinformation and outright falsehood peddled by ill-informed and mischievous people, both within and outside the campus.

“Regrettably, the lies that have been deposited in the public space, conscientiously or unconsciously, as amplified by social media, have had a damaging impact on the reputation and image of our university that my administration is working very hard to protect. Management chose not to join issues with peddlers of falsehood at a time of deep sadness and sober reflection. These persons without cause hastily blamed the death on the Medical Centre and by extension the university,” she said.

Professor Obi noted that the university maintained studied silence and strongly investigated the handling of the patient at the facility by constituting a panel of inquiry as well as carrying out a Coroner’s Inquest to determine the cause of death.

“This, we are sure will serve a great purpose in the future, for understanding the causes of things is one of the callings of the university. As I addressed protesting students on campus that fateful day, this much I promised we would do. In fulfillment of this, with the full approval of the family of the deceased, we ordered an autopsy which was carried out by one of the foremost Nigerian Forensic Pathologists. We are thankful to God that our late student was peacefully laid to rest on Feb. 11, 2023 in her hometown, Gbe Nanav in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State. Yesterday, in the presence of the representatives of the family, the Benue and Tiv Community in the University, SUG officials, members of the Panel of Inquiry, Management received the Autopsy and the panel of inquiry reports.”

According to her, management has decided even in the midst of peddled falsehood against the university to respect the death and in consideration of the emotional trauma of her parents and the immediate family to simply say that the death was due to medical complications. She emphasized that the late student never went to the university medical center but was only taken there by her friends in a very critical medical condition the day she died.

“Please note that Ms Precious had received treatment from other private clinics in town from the scan result and other medications presented to the nurses on duty when she was brought in. The panel of inquiry made up of experienced medical consultants and doctors absolved the nurses on duty of any professional negligence but saw elements of lack of emotional commitment as medical professionals.

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