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Human Rights’ Lawyer Sues Hospitals, Nigerian Minister For N20billion Over Wife’s Death

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The issue which has taken over two years to be addressed and investigated after series of petitions by the lawyer to relevant authorities.

An Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Anthony Ejumejowo, has dragged the Nisa Garki Hospital, Abuja and two other parties namely Nisa Primier Specialist Hospital and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory who are the private and public partners of the hospital to the court to compel them to pay him N20billion as compensation over the death of his wife, Mrs. Eloho Ejumejowo, after childbirth.

Mrs Ejumejowo, died in October 5, 2019, at the Nisa Garki Hospital, Abuja, due to what the husband described as “gross negligence” on the part of doctors and management of the hospital.

The issue which has taken over two years to be addressed and investigated after series of petitions by the lawyer to relevant authorities, was finally entertained by a panel set up by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) sometimes in September this year in Abuja.

The outcome of the panel did not go down well with Ejumejowo, which made him to institute a legal action against the council with N20billion compensation as damages.

Confiding in our correspondent, an official of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), who was not happy with the way and manner the issue was handled after two years, disclosed that the panel was allegedly compromised through the Secretary of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Investigation Panel, E.D Abdu, and all the doctors involved in the case were given a clean bill of health.

He said, “That has always been the practice of the council. With money, any issue brought before the council involving negligence against its members, such issues never see the light of the day and a clean bill of health is immediately issued to such members.”

Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the medical council and the hospital to SaharaReporters, the lawyer said, “It has been a long road since my wife passed on in October. We tried to get the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.

“I made a formal petition to the Council on the 22nd of October, 2019 and it was not until 15th September 2021 that a 13-member panel of doctors sat to hear the matter after inviting 28 doctors and me. I must confess that between October 2019 that I formally petitioned to the council and September 2021 that the matter was formally heard.

“I must say that attitude of the council towards the matter has been less than desirable but I have had to put up a professional tolerance than I have ever put into any matter to ensure that the process is allowed to go on. The Medical Council at a point wanted to conduct a secret investigation without inviting me or the doctors, something that I resisted. On the 15th September, 2021 that the matter was heard, the panel informed us that anyone interested in obtaining the certified true copy of the records of proceedings is free to do but surprising almost two months after that sitting, the said record of proceedings is yet to be issued even after a formal application for their issuance.

“About two weeks ago in a phone conversation, I asked to know when the report of the panel will be ready and surprisingly, I was informed that they thought I had received their letter containing the panel’s decision. To cut the long story short, the said letter to me was returned undelivered and more than three weeks after, I had to go pick up the letter. The decision of the panel in just two lines informed me that the panel did not establish any prima facie case of professional misconduct against any of the 28 doctors.

“I have for more than one year known that certain persons within the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria were hell-bent on frustrating the investigation but I have kept my cool but remained firm to ensure the investigation is carried out in accordance with the law. The action of the Council so far has been less than what the law set it up to do and I will ensure that my own matter is an exception to business as usual.

“In the meantime, I have filed a civil action for negligence for the death of my wife at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against Nisa Garki Hospital, Abuja and two other parties namely Nisa Primier Specialist Hospital and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (1st to 3rd defendants) who are the private and public partners of the hospital.”

In the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2866/2021, filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, obtained by SaharaReporters, the 1st to 3rd claimants, Eru-oghene Ejumejowo, David Ejumejowo and Evawere Ejumejowo (children) of the deceased and Anthony Ejumejowo, (husband) are therefore demanding a N20billion compensation from Nisa Garki Hospital, Abuja, Nisa Primier Specialist Hospital Abuja and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (Defendants) as damages for the death of Mrs. Ejumejowo due to the hospita’s gross negligence.

Among other things, the claimants are praying the court for a declaration as follows:

“That the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants are vicariously liable for the negligence of the doctors of the 1st defendant, an order directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay to the claimants the sum of ten billion naira only as general damages for the emotional trauma caused by the death of Mrs. Elohor Esther Ejumejowo occasioned by the negligent conduct of the doctors of the 1st defendant.

“An order of this honorable court directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay to the claimants the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (five billion naira) only as special damages for the emotional trauma caused by the death of Mrs. Elohor Esther Ejumejowo occasioned by the negligent conduct of the doctors of the 1st Defendant.

“An order of this honorable court directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay to the claimants the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (five billion naira) only as exemplary damages for the emotional trauma caused by the death of Mrs. Elohor Esther Ejumejowo occasioned by the negligent conduct of the doctors of the 1st defendant.”

As at the time of filing this report, the secretary of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Investigation Panel, E.D Abdu, could not be reached as his mobile line was unable to connect while text message sent to him was not responded to.

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