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Monday, October 19

Suicide versus Domesic violence: Controversy over death of LUTH consultant (Photo)

The controversy over the death of LUTH  Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Dr Hestianna Thomas has raged on. Some reports says she was  battered to death by her husband who is a Consultant Clinical Pathologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, while some say she committed suicide.A colleague of the deceased who is a surgeon in LUTH told Vanguard that the deceased had a history of depression. The source, who pleaded anonymity, noted:
“The victim came in a pool of blood with a nylon bag over her head, face smashed in, chest and arms fractured. Husband told us she had a history of depression and suicidal attempts. I heard that she jumped off the second floor. I spoke with her unit members, it seems it’s confirmed that it’s a suicide, the family reached out in support to the husband and confirmed the previous history of depression and won’t be taking anything up.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Branch of NMA has condemned media reports linking the death of the deceased to the husband. The NMA through its Public Relations Officer, Dr Ibrahim Ogunbi, wondered why some journalists should carry stories of such sensitive matters without proper investigations.
 “The rumours are too much but we do not believe them. We are investigating the cause of the death to ascertain if the allegation by some people that the husband killed the wife was true or not. We are neutral until the autopsy report is made.” He noted that the reason they could not believe the allegation levelled against the husband was their findings during the association’s visit to the home of the deceased.When we visited the home of the decease on Friday, we saw her mother who also lives in the house. And during our interaction with her, she said that the report making the rounds that her in-law killed the daughter worries her; it has further inflicted pains on her, and that those making such allegations are adding to her pains.
In a statement, the Chairman, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, LUTH branch, Dr. Emeka Ogbolu, said the incident was a sad event. He described the deceased as a very hardworking consultant, who seemed indefatigable. Ogbolu who said he refrained from posting anything noted that it would have been premature to do so.
He said,“I was appalled at how some people jumped to conclusions that it was homicide without investigating or asking questions. I also had to refrain because it is really painful being that I saw her on Tuesday and therefore it came as a shock. I just came from their home where I went to pay a condolence visit and what I saw was a pained and angry mother. Her mother, after I introduced myself, pleaded that we do not abandon her son-in-law who is a son to her. While weeping she asked why someone will be so insensitive and wicked to her as a mother and conclude that her son-in-law killed her daughter.
“She cursed those that started it because she said they have only added to her pain which is already unbearable. She said she is a principal officer in a university and has some background in psychology and she knows the tell tale signs of domestic violence. She visits often and would not have hesitated to forcefully drag her daughter out of the marriage had that been the case.“She would have known from her interaction with their children. She said those who started this have stung her where it hurts because she does not joke with her children. She said she broke down when she saw the newspaper that carried the story. I saw a mother pained. I think it was genuine. I promised her I would pass on her message as much as I can and that is all I have done.”
The late consultant was a member, Class of 96, UDOSA Benin Chapter and member of the British Association of Paediatric surgeons. She graduated with a bachelor of medicine and surgery (MBBS) from the College of Medicine, University of Benin, Nigeria in 2003. Thereafter, she obtained a post graduate training including specialist training in paediatric surgery at the UBTH and LUTH, and a tertiary hospital in Accra, Ghana.

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