Doctors indicted for negligence in Lagos Chef’s death

Doctors indicted for negligence in Lagos Chef’s death

A coroner’s inquest has indicted doctors of a Lagos-based hospital for medical negligence in the death of Peju Ugboma a chef and mother of two. 

Ugboma died after she suffered internal bleeding following an elective hysterectomy operation for a fibroid condition at Premier Specialist Hospital in Victoria Island in April 2021.

The coroner overseeing her inquest, indicted doctors of Premier Hospital for medical negligence.

The coroner’s inquest, which started in May 2021, had 16 witnesses including Ugboma’s widower, Ijoma, doctors and pathologists.

Recall that after her surgery in April 2021, Ugboma complained of severe abdominal pain and discomfort. It was said that her blood pressure dropped to as low as 50/30 and she was bleeding profusely to the point of using seven to eight pads a day.

She died on the premises of Evercare Hospital, where she was referred to from Premier hospital. Doctors at Evercare Hospital alleged that Ugboma had no pulse on arrival after trying to resuscitate her for over an hour.

The deceased’s husband, Ugboma believed that she died due to negligence by doctors from Premier Hospital who initially attended to her.

However, during the inquest on Thursday, Magistrate Mukiala Fadeyi, said that the “only logical” insight to “her death is a result of the combination of lack of due diligence of the doctors.”

He said that the failure of appropriate response, substandard care and inadequate optimal care contributed to her untimely demise.

He further said that other factors that led to her “avoidable death” were the absence of vital medical devices to detect intra-abdominal bleeding, poor documentation of clinical notes and failure to immediately involve appropriate surgeons.

He included that Premier Hospital owes their patient better medical care, adding that part-time doctors should not be engaged.

He noted that the law does not permit him to award damages and recommended that the code of conduct and ethics of medical practitioners “should be tightly reviewed to severely punish negligent doctors.”

He said that the state government should not limit funding to only government hospitals but also render funds to private facilities to buy equipment.

He said that government and regulatory agencies should ensure that the standard PCV of the World Health Organisation be strictly followed for both sexes before surgery is carried out.

The coroner further said that regulatory agencies should do more sensitisation on the rights of patients.

After the inquest, Mr Ugboma in an interview with journalists expressed satisfaction with the verdict.

He said: “I’m very happy with the outcome of the inquest, it’s been a very long one. The circumstances of my wife’s death were not satisfactory.”

His lawyer, Babatunde Ogungbamila, said she got justice but the best medical services failed her.

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