Coronavirus: It is against medical ethics to reveal the identity of the infected Italian – Prof Akin Abayomi
Prof Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State commissioner for health yesterday told a press conference that giving out the full details of the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria is unethical in medical practice. This is amidst calls in some quarters for the Nigerian government to reveal the name, age, height, family members, profession, place of work, place of residence and marital status of the Italian.
During the press parley, the professor also spoke about contact tracing of persons that travelled in the same plane with the Italian, patient recovery amongst other things.
Why patient identity remains unknown
Prof Akin Abayomi said the rules of engagement regarding patient-doctor confidentiality had compelled him not to disclose the name and other personal information of the Italian. In his words: “The details of the #COVID19 patient can’t be given out as it is against the practice of medical professionals. It is a patient doctor confidentiality.”
He expressed his optimism that the patient will recover. He said: “There should be a correlation between his improved state and the reduction in the virus; how does the virus reduce? It reduces because the body has its immune system, and the body is fighting the virus, that is how he will recover from this infections because most viruses we don’t have treatment for them. “It is his own body that is his own medicine. As his immune system finds this virus, it starts to mount an attack against this and eventually there is a battle between his immune system and the virus and the outcome of that battle is what happens. “If his immune system win, then he will survive, if the virus wins then there is a possibility of death. What we do as doctor is to try to give the correct medicine.”
Tracing of contacts, 149 passengers, 84 reside in Lagos, 65 in other states
Prof Akin Abayomi said: “On the flight, we have up to date, 149 persons out of which 84 of them are based in Lagos and 65 of them have travelled out of Lagos. We are using WHO and state epidemiologists to track them because they are no longer in our jurisdiction. “Out of the 84 based in Lagos, 49 are reachable while 35 are unreachable. We are trying our best through other means to contact them.
As for the 35 that are unreacheable, this is due to the abnormal data they might have provided for us in their forms; wrong information, both telephone numbers, residential and the next of kin. “35 out of the contacts in Ogun State are still under the 14 day quarantine and from the information I gathered from the Commissioner in Ogun, so far nobody has developed the symptom. “Six people from the hotel he lodged in Lagos are also being monitored. The drivers that were involved are also being monitored and so far, no symptom too.”
He added that so far, four people have been tested and three of them tested negative, only the Italian man has tested positive and is the only one in isolation.
Patient is bored, plans to get Wi-Fi for him underway
The Prof said the patient is comfortable but battling boredom. According to him: “at the moment , we are trying to make him comfortable because he is the only person in the isolation room with 14 beds, he has nothing to do all day long, nobody wants to come and visit him. We’ve made provisions for him to have wifi to connect to the outside world.”
Right now, what most Nigerians know about the index case is the nationality and gender.
Partly culled from Dailytrust