Martins Ifijeh

The mother of James and John, the co-joined twins currently at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) hotel, Mrs. Amarachi Ugwoke said the hospital management was making efforts towards the surgical separation of her babies.

She said though the children were born in another hospital in Festac Lagos, they have been under LUTH’s care since May 2017 with the hospital resolving to perform the operation after six months of the children’s life to enable their nerves and other delicate organs develop enough for a successful surgery.

Amarachi said LUTH lodged them in the hospital hotel where N12k is being paid daily by the Chief Medical Director, Professor Chris Bode for the past five months pending when James and John are mature enough for surgery. “The hospital said they are preparing for the surgery, and that at the right time it will be done.”

But this is contrary to reports in a media outlet credited to her husband, Obinna, that his children were being held in LUTH against their will, adding that LUTH has refused to do the surgery after one month of the babies’ lives as promised.

Obinna had said: “I asked why the surgical operation could not be performed, and I was told to wait for another three months for the babies to be big and strong enough for the surgery. It is now five months and nothing has been done. The doctors stopped attending to us for the past two months and they have stopped picking my calls.”

Obinna’s claim prompted THISDAY to visit Amarachi and the twins at the hospital hotel where she said her husband was only being scared that the operation might not be successful at LUTH hence his resolve to solicit for funds and fly them abroad for treatment.

Asked if they have money for the operation in LUTH or abroad, Amarachi said LUTH promised to foot the bill of the operation, a reason the CMD was still paying her daily hotel expenses which has run into millions.

When THISDAY reached the CMD, he said the hospital was more than ready to do the operation only after certain organs in the babies were developed enough because of the nature of the joining.

“We even ordered for a particular instrument abroad which has cost us millions because we believe even though the parents have no money, we should help out. The operation will require a team of experts which we were already assembling together. But suddenly, the father asked us to help him raise money to take the children abroad for the surgery.

“We told him we do not raise money for patients for medical tourism and that we are not an NGO. We told him if he does not want us to continue he should put it in writing so that we can let them go, but till now he did not. Only for us to see in one of the papers that he was soliciting for N8m for surgery abroad; an amount that won’t even go any where,” the CMD said.

Prof. Bode said in the light of recent development, the hospital may not go on with the assistance since the father has withdrawn his consent for the assistance. “While blackmailing us in other to be able to raise money for the supposed surgery, his children and wife are still in our hotel, and the hospital management is coughing out N12,000 daily for hotel fee. We can’t continue that way,” he said.