Negligence: Medical Tribunal Suspends 5 Doctors for Two Years

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Luck ran out on five medical doctors this week, as the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal suspended them for various periods ranging from three to six months, individually making it one of its most stringent judgments in recent times.

The doctors are Temitope Gabriel Onile, Nzurumike Charles Nnanna, Danmusa Ademu Ochala and Omotayo Oluwadamilola Akinro who all work at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja were arraigned on the charges of negligence to duty between 7th and 8th, 2012.

"For failure to see a patient as often as his/her medical condition wants, you doctors Onile is hereby suspended for three months, Nnanna six months, Ochala six months, and Akinro six months,’ the Tribunal chairman, Jonathan Azubuike ruled.

According to the charges, the doctors were on call but failed to attend promptly in the management of one Mrs Eleojo Justina Collins who was admitted under their care and required urgent surgical intervention until the patient died.

Specifically, Dr Akinro was charged for "suspending the passage of Foley’s Catheter and proceeded to administer Misoprostol (used to induce pregnancy) without prior consultation with the Consultant and senior medical officer on duty."

Also, in another development,  the tribunal held Dr Udezue Obumneme culpable and suspended him for three months based on the charges brought against him of negligence and misconduct in the operation he carried out on one Mr Steven Kwaso who later died.

After the deliberations, the tribunal maintained that the diseased patient was actually admitted at Bayero Dikko Specialist Hospital, Kano where Dr Udezue met him. It also held that the doctor was actually a grade two consultant on temporary employment at the hospital, but temporary staffs is recognised as a full time staff was expected to work during normal working hours, and the case of medical doctors, during call duty hours.

Udezue, who has 49 year experience as a medical doctor, performed a colostomy which he was accused of performing alone. The tribunal further held that an anaesthetist, a doctor and two auxiliary nurses who assisted him.

The cause of death was attributed to haemorrhage from the operation site, but death certificate ascribed the cause of death to respiratory arrest. Tribunal is convinced that a post mortem which was not carried out could have helped in unravelling the cause of death.

Based on the tribunal’s observations, "you Dr Udezue Nnaemeka Obumneme are found guilty of conducting yourself infamously in a professional respect contrary to the provisions of Rule 49 (1b,d) of the code of medical ethics in Nigeria, 2008. You are hereby suspended from practice for a period of three months".
Responding, counsel to Udezie said "we will appeal the judgment if we consider it necessary to do so,’ while commending the tribunal for its speedy judgment delivery."

Another Dr Amos Essien of Shell Petroleum Hospital in Port Harcourt has been arraigned before the Nigerian Medical and Dental Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal on charges of negligence in the management of one Mr Obhuo Eto Sonam.

‘You caused to be prescribed and administered, several doses of sedatives and anaesthetic drugs to the said patient without monitoring adequately and the sad fact you have conducted yourself infamously in a professional respect,’ the charge read.
After  several heated cross examination by the respondent and prosecution counsels, the tribunal chairman, Dr Azubuike adjourned further hearing on the matter till the next session of the panel which comes up in October.

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