The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi on Friday gave more insight into the tragic accident involving a train and bus conveying the staff of the Lagos State government to their respective places of work.
Abayomi who spoke alongside the Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola and the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said that a total of 102 people were involved in the train and bus collision that claimed six lives.
He explained that two of the victims died at the scene of the accident, while four died at LASUTH and others sustained serious and minor injuries.
Abayomi who commended the professionalism of the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) and other relevant agencies, said that the time spent conveying victims from the point of accident to the hospital shows a high level of professionalism.
“The accident happened on the 9th of March, about 7:30 a.m., involving a moving train and a bus conveying staff of the Lagos State government to work. Our rescue agencies arrived at the point of the accident at exactly 7:45 a.m. to secure the environment and sort out the victims. At about 8:10 am, most of the victims started arriving at the hospital, where they were adequately attended to.”
The Commissioner, who sympathised with the families of the deceased, said that since Thursday until late Friday, they have not recorded any death. “Although some victims had to undergo surgeries some were brought in with bleeding into their brain, chest, or abdomen, and we are able to save their lives with rapid access to safe blood,” he said.
“So far, 40 units of blood had been transfused to stabilize the victims. Thanks to all the residents of Lagos State who came out to donate blood. We were able to collect 256 units of voluntary blood from sympathizers and volunteers, and we are really happy with this response.
Transfer of Patients
He revealed that 25 patients with less serious injuries were transferred to four general hospitals in Lagos State: “Some patients were moved to Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos Island General Hospital, Orile Agege General Hospital, and Toll-Gate Accident and Emergency Centre.”
“We have visited them, and all of them are in stable condition. Some will be discharged later today (Friday). “At the moment, we have discharged 19 victims from LASUTH; five victims are ready for discharge at the Toll-Gate Accident and Emergency Centre, while at Orile-Agege, 10 victims are about to be discharged.”
He said that the Lagos State Government would, in its usual way, foot the medical bills of all the victims, while the expenses of those that died will be taken care of, even as he prayed that their souls would rest in peace.
Why 102 victims?
Abayomi said that the reason for the increase in the number of victims may be associated with the way and manner in which the accident occurred. “Since the train carried the bus for about 100 meters, we believe that there are some people injured outside the bus. That’s probably responsible for the 102 figure.
“It is still very early to get full details from the passengers that were involved because many of them are still in pain.” It is not the time to over-stress them with questions, but as they get better, we are going to get more information from them.
Allegation of attending to victims in open space?
Abayomi said that some of the people castigating the hospitals for attending to victims in an open space may not be familiar with international best practices in an accident that involves large numbers of victims.
“Immediately the incident happened, LASUTH was able to set up a care center outside the emergency department of the hospital, which is an important process to separate and examine patients to make sure they were able to save the lives of those in critical condition.”
“At that point, the focus was on more critical cases, we carried out multiple levels of triage, and in the process, we were able to reduce the number of casualties.”
“Anywhere in the world, triage is carried out in open spaces that give us the opportunity to scan all the casualties at the same time and separate them quickly by professionals so that they can attend to those that need immediate attention in a manner that will save the lives of those casualties.”
What is the professionalism status of government employed drivers?
The Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola expressed regret over the conduct of the driver, even as he disclosed that routinely, Lagos State government-employed drivers undergo regular training. “The capacity of those buses is 85 passengers, with 45 sitting and 40 standing,” he said.
“I think the bus was full to capacity because quite a number of people, due to cash crunch, opted to go with the free bus as opposed to a commercial bus. So that is responsible for full capacity.
“As regards the driver, he is currently with police under investigation. Driver education is paramount to us, and we have a driving institution where they go periodically to scale up their skills. It is very unfortunate that we have this kind of situation.