A High Court of justice, sitting at Otor-Udu, Delta State has awarded the sum of N10 Million as damages against the Attorney General of Delta State, the State Hospitals Management Board over a case of medical negligence that claimed the life of one Mrs. Elo Joseph and her baby on the 25th day of November, 2012.
The court in a with Suit No: OUHC/23/2013, Mr. Joseph Onome Vs Delta State Hospital Management Board & 4 Others, also awarded a cost of N100,000.00 against the defendants over the incident.
The suit brought by Mr. Joseph Onome, husband to late Mrs. Elo Joseph, who was then an expectant mother, aged 29 years on 22 day of February, 2013 was decided on Thursday, the 23rd day of November, 2017.
Delivering judgment on the suit after four years of legal fireworks, Honourable Justice C. E. Achilefu, (Mrs.), struck out the name of Dr Tuoyo Eda, as 2nd Defendant and went ahead to award the sum of N10 Million and a cost of N100,000.00 against the Delta State Hospitals Management Board as 1st Defendant, Dr Nwabua as 3rd Defendant, Dr Mike Ozoemena as 4th Defendant and the Attorney General of Delta State as 5th Defendant.
The court ruled in favour of Mr. Joseph Onome, aged 51 years who lost his pregnant wife Mrs. Elo Joseph and baby on the 25th day of November, 2012, owing to the unexplained absence of members of the Obstetric team on call who were supposed to be on duty at the Central Hospital, Ughelli at the material time the deceased was referred to the said Hospital from the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi for expert management.
Giving a graphic details of the case, counsel to the Plaintiff, Oghenejabor Ikimi, stated that the late Mrs. Elo Joseph had on the 4th day of February, 2012 registered at the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi for ante natal treatment which the latter as a patient regularly attended at intervals on appointment until the 25th day of November, 2012 when she commenced signs of labour at about 1:20am.
According to him, Mr. Joseph Onome upon rushing his wife, Mrs. Elo Joseph to the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi discovered to his dismay that there was only one nurse in the entire facility without a Doctor to attend to his said wife.
“That about 7:30am, a nurse on duty at the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi called Mr. Joseph Onome on phone to inform him that his wife was bleeding and upon his arrival, he was given a referral letter by a Doctor to the Obstetric team on call at the Central Hospital, Ughelli for expert management of the case of his wife.
“That on getting to the Central Hospital, Ughelli an hour later, Mr. Joseph Onome to his surprise was told by an Houseman on duty at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Ward that members of the Obstetric team on call who were supposed to be on duty at the said Hospital which included two medical consultants and two medical o;cers had all gone for weekend.
“That at the Central Hospital, Ughelli Mrs. Elo Joseph who had laboured for close to 8 hours and whose bleeding condition had grown worse was referred to a private clinic in Ughelli by the said Houseman where she had a stillbirth and later died of severe bleeding.
“The death of Mrs. Elo Joseph and her baby would have been avoided, if members of the Obstetric team on call at the Central Hospital, Ughelli who were non-challant, lackadaisical and remiss had adequately and professionally responded promptly to the health condition of the late Mrs. Elo Joseph”.
Ikimi who is the Executive Director of Centre for the vulnerable and underprivileged (Centrep), who took up the above public interest suit told BigPen Online that his group have also concluded arrangements for the erring Doctors to face a disciplinary action before the Medical and Dental Disciplinary Council in Abuja in a bid to ensuring that the license of the said Doctors are withdrawn, as they were not licensed to kill but to save human lives.
“We hope that the above public interest suit which is geared towards developing our human rights culture would help to educate Medical Practitioners in all our Public Hospitals to respect human lives and to carry out their jobs with all seriousness as the duty of care owed their patients are that of the highest professional standard”, Ikimi said.