Foster dad narrates how hospital demanded police report while Plateau varsity student bled to death
Dr. Japhet Gongden, the foster dad of of Emmanuel Israel, a 100 level Mathematics student of the Plateau State University, who died after falling off a moving vehicle during protest, has narrated how the victim bled to death while hospital kept demanding for police report.
The lecturer at the university’s Department of Geography, who said he trained the late 23-year-old student, said that he had been inconsolable since the incident occurred.
During an interview with The PUNCH, Gongden said himself and other family members had yet to accept the reality of the death of Israel, who he said started living with him when he was six years old.
He said, “His death is painful. It was not easy for any of us because Israel moved in with me when he was six years old. We are not related by blood but I am his guardian.
‘‘He was a hardworking child and wanted to achieve something in life. I felt his parents were not well-to-do. I reckoned that if I allowed him to stay with his parents, they may not be able to cater for his education because of their financial condition. That was why I took him in with me in Jos from that tender age. I just wanted him to progress and be somebody in future to help his parents and others.
“Israel was a gentle person. Everybody knew him and he related with people well. Anytime he was in the house, I always relaxed knowing that he would take care of any situation even when I was away from home. He told me that he wanted to follow in my footsteps and become a professor too. I assured him that I would always support and sponsor him to achieve his ambition. We were happy that he secured admission into the university as he had always dreamt. But look at how everything ended.”
Recalling his last conversation with Israel, Gongden said the day he died, he called him on the phone and said he was fine but that some gunmen kidnapped some female students from a hostel the previous day.
He stated, “He told me that students were not happy with the situation and had locked the school and were outside the school protesting against the incident. I cautioned him to stay out of trouble and he assured me that he would do as I said. After about an hour, a call came from his phone and when I picked, it was a different male voice. The male voice told me that Israel had an accident and he was being conveyed to a hospital in Bokkos.
“When I inquired from the caller to know the nature of the accident, he told me that he didn’t know and that he only picked Israel’s phone and discovered that I was the last person he called. I was surprised because I spoke with him about an hour before then. I pleaded with the caller to get me the contacts of those that took him to the hospital so that I could reach out to them. He did that. When I called them, it dawned on me that I had to go to Bokkos to see what was happening. As I was preparing to go to Bokkos, those taking Israel to the hospital called me again to say that I should hold on and that they were planning to bring him to the Jos University Teaching Hospital because he needed blood and oxygen .It was then that I knew that his case was a serious one. At this point, I tried to reach out to his biological parents to inform them of what was happening and we agreed to meet at the Cottage Hospital in Bokkos.
“While we were about to embark on the journey, they called again that we should hold on because a doctor at the Cottage Hospital. Bokkos said he was going to take care of the situation. As we were waiting, they called again that we should come over. It was at this point of uncertainty that my wife contacted her colleague in Bokkos to find out what the situation was and she was told that Israel had passed on. Somehow, she kept the information away from me because she knew I wouldn’t be happy to hear it. I was still contemplating on what to do when the person who earlier called me with Israel’s phone called to inform me that Israel had died. Immediately, we decided to go to the Cottage Hospital, Bokkos and it was on our way that we decided to break the news to Israel’s father who had joined us then.’’
Gengdon said that Israel would have been alive if the hospital had managed his condition well.
He added, “When we got to the hospital, we saw his lifeless body and there was blood everywhere. It was the person who had been with him from when the accident occurred till he died that told us that it was the hospital that caused his death. He told us that the hospital was aware of the accident and how it happened and yet, demanded a police report before they could treat him. As they tried to get a police report, he was losing blood. That was the annoying part of the whole thing.
“But you know that regardless of whatever we do, the dead cannot return to life. The person with him told us that Israel would have been saved if he was attended to by the hospital. It is unfortunate that he died at a government hospital under such an avoidable situation. I thought that the issue of a police report before treatment had been resolved. In trying to get a police report, they wasted time which made him lose much blood and he died. I don’t want to talk further on his death because it’s affecting me.”
In his contribution, Israel’s uncle, Gilshak Joseph, said on the day of the incident, he was called by the deceased’s father and Gengdon that there was a protest at the university and that Israel was involved in an accident.
Joseph said, “I was told that the protest took them to the LGA secretariat where the council chairman addressed them and promised to handle their demand for improved security at the university. I was told that while they were returning to the campus, his phone fell off and in trying to ensure that the phone didn’t break as he sat with some students on a moving, open Hilux vehicle he sat with other students, he fell and hit his head on a tarred road.
He further said that immediately he heard what happened, he rushed to the Cottage Hospital, Bokkos and saw that his clothes had been removed and he was placed in an ambulance to convey him to a mortuary
Joseph added, “His death is painful because he was part of me. I didn’t allow him to complain of any problem while in school because I wanted him to face his studies. I don’t have any regrets in spending on him because he was bringing positive results. His memory still rings in my mind. I spoke to him on Saturday and he told me that he needed some money. I promised to send it to him as soon as I returned to Jos from my trip.
“That was the last conversation I had with him and when I returned to Jos on Monday evening, I tried to see how I could raise the money and send it to him on Tuesday for he told me that he needed the money to buy a departmental T-shirt and a calculator being a mathematics student. I told my wife that I needed to send the money to him as he told me that their matriculation was on April 29, 2021. He said the calculator would help him in doing his assignments. It was the day I was to send the money that I heard he had an accident.”
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