A tribunal set up by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, which is sitting in Abuja on yesterday issued a six-month suspension to two medical doctors for causing the deaths of patients in their care.
Dr Charles Ikeji of Kefland Family Hospital, Apo Mechanic Extension, Abuja, was arraigned in September 2019 for causing the death of Fred Akobundu, who was operated for hernia removal.
He was accused of offences bordering on incompetence and negligence. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
While delivering judgment, the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, Prof Abba Hassan, said the tribunal considered the plea of the defence counsel for both accused doctors before it decided not to strike out their names from the medical register.
Hassan said, “In considering the plea in the case of Dr Charles Ikeji, who has been a practitioner for over 30 years, the defence counsel requested for leniency and to temper justice with mercy. The tribunal considered this and therefore, we are not giving him the maximum sentence (of striking his name off the register). He is going to be on six months suspension from the day of this judgment.”
Also at the tribunal, Dr Terhemba Lan of Mpape, Bwari area of Abuja, was suspended for six months.
He was accused of operating a hospital at Mpape, Bwari area of Abuja without a registered doctor or nurse while relying on community extension workers to carry out health services. The prosecution said his action endangered the life of Mr Echefule Obiayi, who approached the hospital for treatment, adding that the victim later died.
While also delivering judgment on the case, Prof Hassan said, “The tribunal considered the plea by the defence counsel that the doctor is a first offender who has been practising for over 20 years without any query and has been in suspension since July 2019.
“However, In this case, there is a loss of life as a result of professional misconduct and infamous practice. The tribunal has an option of giving maximum sentence of striking his name off the register. But in view of what had been outlined by the defense counsel, the tribunal has decided to suspend you for six months from the date of this judgment.”
Also, three other doctors were arraigned before the tribunal for their roles in the death of a three-month-old baby, Peace Oluwole.
The tribunal heard that the child was admitted to the R. Jolad Hospital in the Gbagada area of Lagos where the three doctors worked in March 2013, but he was discharged in distress before his death.
The accused medical practitioners, Dr Iyoha Joseph, Dr Obafemi Kuye and Dr Mukaila Oladipo, were said to have acted unprofessionally by administering unnecessary drugs, delaying necessary actions and exposing the baby’s system to unnecessary drugs, which resulted in his death.
The charge sheet read out by the Registrar of the MDCN, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, said the three doctors acted infamously, contrary to the rules of the Code of Medical Ethics of Nigeria, 2008 edition, punishable under the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8 Laws of the Federation on Nigeria 2004 as amended.
Dr Joseph was accused of discharging the baby prematurely on March 11, 2013, when he did not observe and document clear indications that the baby had recovered from ailment and causing the death. He was also accused of claiming to be a specialist paediatrician when he did not have any additional qualification registered by the MDCN.
Dr Kuye was accused of seeing the baby, but failing to attend to him. In his own case, Dr Oladipo was accused of failing to take remedial measure to relieve the patient of obvious respiratory distress when he was re-presented at the hospital after being discharge earlier, and delaying other procedures for more than 30 minutes, which eventually contributed to the cause of death of the baby.
The three accused doctors pleaded not guilty to the seven counts preferred against them.
Dr Joseph said he became a qualified doctor abroad in 1979 and that on February 14, 1991, he registered with the MDCN certificate of his additional qualification, claiming that he was a qualified paediatrician. He said he discharged the baby because he had no reason to keep him in the hospital after recovering from his ailment. Hearing on the case continues on Wednesday (today).