The family of Sandra David has sued the Nigerian government and the Federal Medical Centre for N500 million over the death of the 29-year old woman at the centre due to “medical negligence”.
In a suit, number FHC/ABJ/CS/74/2016, filed by Ms. David’s mother, Portia Sambo, the family is also demanding the payment of N8.2 million as cost of treatment of the deceased at the Federal Medical Centre and the Nizamiye Hospital in Abuja.
Ms. David was taken to Nizamiye, a Nigerian-Turkish medical facility, after complications arising from “mismanagement of her health condition” at the Federal Medical Centre (formerly Federal Staff Hospital), Abuja.
The suit was filed against the Ministry of Health, the Federal Medical Centre Abuja, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Chinwe Igwilo, Obed Dads, Amadi Ikechukwu, and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation as co-defendants.
PREMIUM TIMES had on December, 31 reported several allegations by families of late Ms. David and others whose loved ones died following suspected medical mismanagement by the FMC.
According to our investigation, Ms. David had gone to the hospital for a surgery in March, expecting the process to last only a few days. But after months at the hospital, she was transferred to Nizamiye Hospital where she died on July 12.
“We all expected the treatment and recuperation to take a short period and that she would return to work very quickly”, her sister, Sophia, had recalled.
But days ran into weeks and she was still at the hospital. Rather than tell us the truth about her situation, they waited and waited for my sister to die,” Sophia had said in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
Other victims like Eddy Pious John Paul also recounted their experiences blaming poor treatment at the FMC for the death of their babies.
Although the hospital declined to respond to the allegations, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the regulatory body for medical institutions in the country, said it was investigating the issue of late Ms. David.
“We have received an official complaint against the FMC regarding the case of late Sandra and copies of the allegations have also been forwarded to the concerned persons at the FMC”, the council said.
“What we do here is that once there is such a complaint, we make our own findings, which most often results in the involvement of more people in cases like this.
“For example, in the affidavit containing the allegations against workers at the FMC, there was only three doctors mentioned. But when we made our own investigations, we found about 11 people involved. We have demanded the counter affidavits from all the affected persons. After that is gotten, we will proceed to the next stage of the investigation,” said Enejo Abdu, a medical doctor, who is also the assistant registrar and head of department of professional discipline of the council.
He however added that the council was yet to receive any complaint from other victims mentioned in the story by PREMIUM TIMES.
Explaining further, the Acting Registrar, MDCN, T. Sanusi, said the council would only attend to a complaint if they were sent in form of affidavits.
“A complaint like that must be in form of an affidavit sworn to before a commissioner for oath or a notary public. The affidavit will include the names of the doctors who treated the patient in question. Copies of these affidavits will be sent to the doctors involved for their own counter affidavits. When all these is done, the official notification will then be included in a queue of similar complaints.
“When it’s time to look into the case, the doctors and other parties will be invited with their council, if they so choose, to the MDCN’s investigative panel. At the end of the investigation, if the medical practitioners are not found wanting, it ends there.
“But if they are, then it is taken to the MDCN’s tribunal,” said Mr. Sanusi, who added that the outcome of the tribunal is something that the proceedings alone can predict, at that stage.
Mr. Sanusi further stated that the council only awards such penalties as seizure of medical license but does not involve monetary compensations.
“If the victims want any firm of monetary compensation, than that is a matter for the conventional courts,” he added.
According to the suit filed by late Ms. David’s family, it also asked that N2 million be paid by the defendants as cost of instituting the suit; while it also asked for an additional cost of 10 per cent interest on the judgement sum from the defendants until the judgement sum is fully paid.