Over six months after the commencement of investigation into cases of alleged medical negligence at a major hospital in Abuja, the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, NMDC, has said the investigation is still ongoing.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the cases of alleged medical negligence at the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja. The cases led to the death of at least three persons with one of them reporting to the NMDC.
While explaining that the investigation was ongoing, the Acting Registrar of the council, Tajudeen Sanusi, said he cannot say when the results will be released.
“I cannot tell you that. I am not a member of the investigation panel. Like I told you before, the procedure for dealing with that kind of issue is such that when the affidavits are received, they are added to other such complaints and treated one after another,” said Mr. Sanusi, a medical doctor.
The case being investigated by the council is the death of a 29-year-old woman, Sandra David.
A senior official at the FMC had in December told PREMIUM TIMES that the allegation of negligence in the case of Ms. David was already being investigated by the MDCN.
“We have already been communicated by the (Ms. David’s) family’s lawyers and the Federal Medical Council is already looking into the matter, so we can’t talk to you about it,” the official said.
“As for the other people, we are not aware of any complaint,” he added.
However, in a letter dated June 2 and received shortly after our visit to the MDCN, the council told PREMIUM TIMES that the results of the investigation will be released in “due course.”
The NMDC’s letter was signed by the secretary to the council’s investigation panel, Enejor Abdu.
“The matter you referred to, is under investigation, by the medical and dental practitioner’s investigation panel. The outcome of the investigation will be communicated to the complainant in due course,” Mr. Abdu said.
PREMIUM TIMES had approached the council, after a meeting with the Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Chinwe Igwilo, in March.
Mrs. Igwilo received our investigation team only after the intervention of the health minister, Isaac Adewole, demanding that she addresses the allegations contained in our December 31 story.
“You cannot compel me to talk to you, if I don’t want to. I did not think it was necessary to have a word with you because you have already written all that you have to say. I am not here for you,” said an angry Mrs. Igwilo who accused PREMIUM TIMES of failing to give the hospital fair hearing.
Her allegations were, however, false as this newspaper made repeated efforts to get the hospital to speak before the story was published.
Mrs. Igwilo also confirmed that the MDCN was already investigating the allegations of negligence against the hospital with regards to late Ms. David. She however dismissed the other allegations contained in the story as “no issues”.
“I do not know the details. This matter is where it should be; that is with the medical and dental council,” she said. “I carefully read through Sandra David’s case, but as for those other cases; as far as I am concerned they are no issues.”
The CMD also responded angrily when asked about an allegation made by a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Negedu, whose case was also reported in our December 31 story.
“I will not let you talk rubbish, this is an affront. In a hospital where you have six obstetricians and over 25 doctors. We have a reputation and no one can bring us down,” she said.
Mrs. Igwilo was responding to an allegation by Mrs. Negedu that the hospital attempted to use a razor blade on her, while she was in her labour pains.
“At the ward, they put a drip on me and abandoned me. There was an ongoing strike action at the time…. It took over 40 minutes before they came to me. At that time my baby was already dead… They were asking for blade to cut me up. Fortunately for me the placenta came out on its own,” said Mrs. Negedu.
The FMC’s head of Admin and management, Felix Rowland, a medical doctor, also denied allegations made by other victims, as told by this newspaper.
Eddy Pious, whose wife lost her pregnancy after 38 weeks and a few days, blamed the FMC of negligence, saying the hospital refused to attend to his wife, ‘even after her water broke’.
“My wife was already 38 weeks pregnant, yet even with the pains, they refused to remove the baby,” said Mr. Pious.
Responding, however, Mr. Rowland said it is not possible that a woman with such a delicate pregnancy as that explained by Mr. Pious was turned back after stating that her water had broken.
“From what you have said, the baby was expected to have had an elective surgery and an elective surgery is always two weeks before the EDD; and that two weeks before the EDD, is the date usually given for elective surgery. Families expected to have elective surgeries are usually advised on danger signs that they should not wait at home with. One of those signs is seeing water and she could not have complained of seeing water and be turned back,” Mr. Rowland said.
Mr. Rowland spoke further about another allegation, made by the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Paul. Mr. Paul’s family accused the FMC of culpability in the circumstances that resulted in the still birth of their baby. He added that a similar condition like that experienced by his wife, was “better” managed the following year at the National Hospital, Abuja resulting in the survival of the baby.
“The survival of such babies is neither here nor there; different conditions can lead to miscarriage, maybe she bled profusely. An older baby can die at the National hospital while a younger one survives here. Also, she said that her second baby survived a 27 weeks pregnancy at the national hospital, who is sure? It is the weight of the baby that can tell you who is likely to survive and who might die,” Mr. Rowland said.