There was anxiety at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja as a burglar ransacked the Male Surgical Ward B of the facility, stealing two phones and N7,000.
The items reportedly belonged to a 75-year-old patient. The patient was identified simply as Kolawole.
The burglar was said to have picked the man’s trousers on his sick bed and removed the valuables while he was asleep.
It was gathered that as he was about to flee, the septuagenarian woke up and raised the alarm, which drew the attention of nurses and doctors on duty.
A source at the hospital disclosed to our correspondent that by time the personnel got to the room, the suspect had escaped through the window.
“The case was reported at the security post and some guards came to inspect the ward. During the search on the ward area, some documents belonging to the elderly man was found at the back of the ward. The documents must have fallen from the suspect while he was trying to escape.
“He went away with two phones and a sum of N7,000 belonging to the patient. The patient should be about 75-year-old.
“The security officials promised to carry out an investigation and write a report on the incident to the management. I suspect insiders’ involvement in the act. Most of the windows in the ward do not have burglar-proof bars,” the source added.
A medical official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he learnt about the incident on Saturday.
He explained that burglary had become a recurrent incident in the hospital and claimed that the management was aware, but failed to take proactive measures.
The official said, “The latest victim was on admission at Male Surgical Ward B. Around 2am on Friday, a burglar forced the window open. There are no burglar-proof bars on the windows. He stole two phones –Nokia and Samsung – and a sum of N7,000 from the man. He was alone in the room; he woke up and raised the alarm.
“Some nurses came to his room but there was nothing they could do because the burglar had already escaped with the items. This is not the first time such an incident would happen. Nurses and doctors have also fallen victims.
“I don’t know why the management cannot put burglar-proof bars on the windows. Something has to be done before these miscreants start attacking patients in the event that they don’t get items to steal.”
Our correspondent who visited the hospital observed that, except some offices within the ward, windows of the patients’ rooms do not have burglar-proof bars.
Some other sections such as Surgical Emergency and Medical Emergency of the facility do not also have burglar-proof bars.
Another source at the hospital confided in our correspondent that two suspected burglars were recently apprehended and handed over to the police. She added that the occurrence was creating fear.
The source said, “The security men are trying their best. They are on 24-hour duty and there are CCTV cameras in some parts of the hospital. Any time they receive a distress call, they respond. Two suspects were arrested about three months ago and handed over to the police.
“One of them had been terrorising the hospital for some time before he was caught. The management has been advised to put burglar-proof bars on the windows.”
LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adewole Oke, in a reply to an inquiry sent to his mobile phone, promised to get back to our correspondent with details.
The message read, “I haven’t got the report yet but will follow up and keep you informed.”
However, in a conversation with our correspondent on Monday, the Chief Security Officer of the hospital, who gave his name only as Idris, confirmed the burglary in passing, but denied that the attacks were rampant.
He said, “Who is giving you false information that the incident has been recurring. Can the person explain what was stolen from him? If something happened, that does not mean you should conclude that it has been happening.
“We are working on it. We got the information about the incident late. Despite that, we have met with the patient and interviewed him to know one or two things. We also want to know the whereabouts of security man posted to that place.”