Anxiety is mounting as the COVID-19 pandemic has allegedly claimed its first victim, a medical doctor in Akwa Ibom State, South-South region of Nigeria.
Until his demise Thursday afternoon, Dominic Essien was the Chief Medical Director of San Dominique Hospital, Ewet Housing Estate, a physiotherapist and lecturer in the Department of Physiology, University of Uyo, Uyo.
In a statement signed and made available to journalists in Uyo on Friday, Nsikak Paul Nyoyoko, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, has condoled its members over the demise of their colleague, Dominic Essien, suspected to have died of COVID-19.
Nyoyoko, a medical doctor, noted that the revered medical practitioner gave up the ghost at the Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo where he was rushed to after experiencing shortness of breath, a severe sign of COVID-19.
The release reads, “Dear Colleagues, as you’ve noticed in recent days, I send daily personal morning messages to check on all members I have on my contact list. This is to know if there’s a reason to be worried about any of us.
“Today, we all have a reason to be sad. I was called last night by a colleague who intimated me that one of our colleagues was sick with a week’s history of fever, cough and shortness of breath which worsened yesterday with his SPO2 as low as 72%, requiring him to be placed on oxygen at his clinic.
“I immediately called upon a member of the State COVID-19 Response Team to swing into action and somehow, later last night, our colleague was admitted into ISH and managed by specialists in respiratory medicine. With the symptoms elucidated above, a suspicion of COVID-19 was entertained and he had his sample taken today awaiting transportation to the laboratory for COVID-19 testing.
“Unfortunately, this revered colleague of ours died mid-afternoon today. Details of the case management are still sketchy as attempts to reach members of the incident Management Committee (IMC) were unsuccessful as they were out for a meeting.
“We have just lost a friend, colleague, and a brother. It’s been a sad day for us at NMA Akwa Ibom State but be rest assured that the lessons learnt from this tragic event would not pass in vain,” he stated.
Nyoyoko enjoined, “I want to urge all our members to remain calm, stay safe and please reach out to a colleague or the Association when in need of help.”