Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Covid-19: Dr Emeka Chugbo’s family set record straight

To set the record straight, the family of the late Dr. Emeka Chugbo has said that there is need to correct the misinformation and fabrications put out and recycled in the public by different people through different media channels since his painful demise on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.

In a statement signed by the Chugbo family and made available by to health journalists in Lagos, said, "at a most sensitive time like this when Nigeria and the world at large are grappling with not only the tragic impact of COVID-19 pandemic but also dealing with viral distortions of facts on the same, allowing misinformation to fester may do more damage than the dreaded Coronavirus itself.

"Right now, the bereaved family, aged parents, siblings and friends of Dr. Chugbo are being subjected to more emotional distress and stigmatization by contrived tissues of lies woven around our beloved son’s unfortunate death from COVID-19 complications.

Hence this public statement becomes urgent and necessary to sift facts from half-truths and lies, so that the general public is not misinformed and misled by previous information they might have been exposed to."

Before he was admitted to LUTH, according to the statement, from the information we gathered the family said, Dr. Chugbo developed COVID-19 complications after being previously invited by a colleague to attend to a patient in distress with gynaecology-related issues at a missionary health facility in Lagos, where he used to offer free consulting services.

“So, contrary to some false statements making the rounds, Dr. Chugbo neither intentionally admitted a known COVID-19 patient nor treated the patient for COVID-19 when he contracted the infection. He was innocently assisting the patient, with her COVID-19 infectivity unknown to him.

“It should be made clear that once Dr. Chugbo himself started showing symptoms of COVID-19, he contacted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC immediately.

But when NCDC was not responding timely to his call, he walked into LUTH and was admitted because of his identity.

“Our son, Dr. Emeka Chugbo, was an unlucky victim of the current pandemic and the lack of adequate equipment to support his treatment did not help his case.

At this point, we must also correct some wrong information and false impressions being funneled to the public on our late son.

“First, he never had any pre-existing condition or medical history of asthma, going by our intimate family knowledge of him from childhood to adulthood, and LUTH never issued any public statement as being circulated on a pre-existing health condition of Dr. Chugbo.

“It is curious and unethical, therefore, that the media should make it an issue for Dr. Chugbo, to establish a link to his COVID-19 complications and death.

Secondly, the true age of Dr. Chugbo at the time of his demise was 51 years, not 60 years as claimed by distortion purveyors. He was born on June 16, 1968 at LUTH.

What would carriers of misinformation gain from distorting and marking up a COVID-19 victim’s age? Is it an act of ignorance or laziness to find out the fact? Or is it a conspiratorial attempt at using our son as a statistic to validate the narrative that people of advanced age are more prone to the fatal complications of the killer viral infection?

Well, we hope the friends and acquaintances of Dr. Chugbo, as well as the general public are better informed and properly guided by this setting right of records done here, so that those wrong impressions are not left hanging around the memories of our late son.

As a professional, Dr Chugbo was an ethical, qualified, brilliant, competent and experienced medical doctor who qualified as a Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the mid-90s at the prestigious LUTH before he went into private practice.

As a family man, he was a loving husband to his expectant lawyer wife and a doting father to his four years old daughter.

Even more, he was a selfless and compassionate person who routinely provided pro-bono, missionary medical care for needy people, having been influenced by his humble Catholic background and a pharmacist father.

Surely, such a kind soul does not deserve his memories being tainted with toxic distortion of facts.

In conclusion, as we grieve the untimely and painful loss of our son Dr. Emeka Chugbo and pray for his soul to rest in peace, we also pray that many other families in our shoes would find comfort at this difficult time.

And may God in His infinite mercy help put an end to the rampage of this COVID-19 pandemic in our country Nigeria and the entire world.



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