In the following account, we delve into Adebola Akin-Bright’s tumultuous medical journey as reported in the news. Needless to say that it’s a harrowing tale that unfolded over the course of several months. From the onset of his health problems to the interventions that followed, we explore the story that gripped the country and led to a call for accountability.
Adebola’s stomach issues and first surgery at Obitoks
Adebola’s deteriorating health began when he developed stomach issues earlier this year, experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. His mother, Deborah Abiodun, diligently cared for him for a few days. However, when his condition worsened, they sought medical attention at Obitoks, a private hospital at Oke-Odo in Alimosho LGA. There, he was diagnosed with ruptured appendicitis and underwent surgery on March 7. Two weeks later, he was discharged.
Return to hospital, second surgery at Obitoks and ‘emergent surgery’ at LASUTH
After three months, Adebola was returned to the same hospital as he was complaining of abdominal pain. He began vomiting a greenish substance, and a growth was noticed in his upper abdomen. On June 6, an abdominal scan identified an intestinal disruption. This led to another surgery.
Following complications from the second surgery at Obitoks, the mother insisted that he should be referred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), where more specialized care could be provided. According to reports, the boy was referred on June 17 for intestinal obstruction with perforated viscus.
At LASUTH, the doctors said Adebola’s condition needed to stabilize before surgery could be considered. The medical team conducted investigations, and after one week, Adebola defecated, showing a positive sign. The doctors suggested that surgery might not be necessary because of this improvement.
Despite some initial signs of improvement, the persistent leak from Adebola’s abdomen became a cause for concern. The situation escalated when a burst in his condition occurred. To avoid further deterioration, the doctors performed an emergent surgery on July 14.
During the surgery, it was discovered that Adebola’s small intestine was missing, and only a small duodenum remained.
The duodenum is the C-shaped part of the small intestine which is located between the stomach and the middle part of the small intestine.
In a desperate plea for answers, the mother made a video that went viral on social media. She accused LASUTH of medical negligence and demanded an explanation for her son’s missing small intestine. She also called Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to intervene and save her only son.
LASUTH and Obitoks react to claims of missing intestine
Following allegations of missing intestines by Adebola’s mother, LASUTH responded and affirmed that they did not willfully remove any organ or structure during the corrective surgery. The authorities reported that they carried out a life-saving corrective surgery and that they have a video recording of the procedure.
“We did what was supposed to be a corrective surgery. I have a detailed report from my surgeon. The injury was there and an attempt to repair it was done here. He had been mutilated before he got here, LASUTH’s CMD, Prof. Adetokunbo O. Fabam told the New Telegraph in August.
In his response, Abayomi Baiyewo the MD of Obitoks told the New Telegraph: “Unfortunately, the doctors at LASUTH as I gathered did not operate on him immediately until the portion of the abdomen, which we stitched after our surgery forcefully opened with faecal matter gushing out, according to the mother. “Perhaps, it was this occurrence that forced the LASUTH doctors to quickly operate on him. But what they did or how they did it, I do not know since I was not in the surgery theatre with them,”
The governor’s intervention
On September 3, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu intervened, promising to take over Adebola’s medical care and allocate all necessary resources to save his life. This commitment came during an unscheduled visit to Adebola and his mother at LASUTH.
Lagos Assembly’s appeal
On September 19, the Lagos State House of Assembly called on Governor Sanwo-Olu to release funds for Adebola’s overseas treatment. This appeal followed a two-week investigation by an ad hoc committee into the missing small intestine case. They also called for the immediate arrest of the doctor who performed the initial surgery at Obitoks Medical Centre.
Sadly, Adebola Akin-Bright passed away on September 19. He reportedly developed severe complications and was transferred to the intensive care unit at LASUTH, where he was pronounced dead.
In a statement on Wednesday, LASUTH confirmed that arrangements to transfer him for treatment abroad were in final stages before his death.
“Suffice it to say that arrangements to transfer Debola to the reputable Great Ormond Street Hospital in the UK had been carried to the final stages by the hospital management before he passed on yesterday,” the statement reads in part.
“We are hopeful that the appropriate professional body will eventually step in to unravel the circumstances of Adebola’s death.”