Judge’s absence stalls trial of popular Lagos plastic surgeon

Anuoluwapo Adepoju, a popular Lagos cosmetic surgeon arriving her trial in Lagos on Friday [PHOTO CREDIT: FCCPC]
Anuoluwapo Adepoju, a popular Lagos cosmetic surgeon arriving her trial in Lagos on Friday [PHOTO CREDIT: FCCPC]

The trial of a popular Lagos cosmetic surgeon, Anuoluwapo Adepoju, could not continue on Thursday due to the absence of the trial judge, Mohammed Liman.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), on July 4, arraigned Ms Adepoju, for alleged failure to comply with its requirements to appear and provide information relevant to an ongoing investigation into a failed plastic surgery.

Ms Adepoju, alongside her hospital, Med Contour Services Limited, was arraigned for allegedly obstructing the investigation by FCCPC into the case.

She is standing trial before Justice Liman.

The FCCPC had in April, sealed the second defendant (Med Contour), a plastic surgery hospital, over suspicion of illegal activities.

In the same month, FCCPC also revealed on its official Twitter handle that it has commenced an investigation into a case of failed plastic surgery performed by the cosmetic surgeon.

The case was adjourned to today July 9 for the commencement of trial. However, due to the absence of the judge, the court’s registrar said the case had been adjourned till a date to be fixed.

Trial

In a five-count charge brought against the defendants on Friday, the prosecution alleged that without sufficient cause, the first defendant failed to appear before the FCCPC in compliance with the commissions’ summons dated April 15.

The prosecution alleged that without sufficient cause, “the first defendant refused and failed to produce a document which she was required to produce in compliance with the commission’s notice of investigation dated April 14.”

The defendant was also alleged to have prevented and obstructed the commission from carrying out its investigation into the said issue.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 11(1)(a), 33(1)(a), 110, 113(1)(a) and 159(4) of the FCCPC Act, 2018.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to all counts.

After her plea, defence counsel, Maria Jonnes, informed the court of a preliminary objection challenging the charge.

She had argued that the law setting up the FCCPC does not empower the court to entertain the case filed by the commission, adding that the defence had already filed a pending suit before another judge, C. Aneke, challenging the act of the commission.

In response, the prosecutor, who is the Director-General of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, argued that there was no legal basis for the preliminary objection of the defense.

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According to him, the subject before the court is not on the issue of a violation, and so, there is nothing in the preliminary objection that can stand.

He also submitted that the objection that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case is ‘misinformed’.

LUTH too

Meanwhile, the management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, has urged the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Investigation Panel to investigate the alleged professional misconduct of Ms Adepoju.

The hospital, in a petition dated June 11, 2020, and signed by its Director of Legal Services, O. O. Olajide, accused Ms Adepoju of professional misconduct during a surgery she performed on one Nneka Onwuzuligbo at her facility.

READ ALSO: Why cases of medical negligence persist in Nigerian hospitals – NMA

FCCPC revealed this on its official Twitter handle with the caption, “CCPC Vindicated as LUTH Takes on Dr. Anu Adepoju Over Failed Cosmetic Surgery”.

According to LUTH, Ms Adepoju had continued to perform surgeries despite the fact that her facility was sealed off by the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency.

In an affidavit attached to the petition, the hospital alleged that Ms Adepoju referred the late Nneka from her facility to LUTH on January 3, 2019, on the pretext that she was being referred from the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island.

The victim, according to the affidavit deposed to by a consultant surgeon, Andrew Ugburo, was presented to LUTH with severe respiratory distress and septicemia with infected surgical wounds.

The hospital added that upon admission into LUTH, the first surgical debridement performed on the deceased on January 10, 2019, revealed “extensive sloughing, with foul-smelling discharge from the deceased debrided hips and purulent discharges from puncture wounds on the anterior abdominal wall.”

It added that after the surgery, there was no improvement in the patient’s clinical state, hence the need to perform a second surgery on her, adding that after the second surgery, the clinical state of the victim improved till the 28th day of admission, when her vital signs deteriorated.

Mr Ugburo further deposed that the victim developed multiple organ failure of cardiac, respiratory (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and renal failures and had a cardiac arrest on the 31st day of admission, adding that after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was unsuccessful, the victim was certified dead around 9 a.m. on February 3, 2019.

However, LUTH alleged that Ms Adepoju blamed the hospital for the death of the victim.

While urging the panel to investigate the activities of Ms Adepoju, LUTH stated that she obtained full registration as a medical practitioner on April 4, 2019, while she performed surgery on the deceased in December 2018.

It also added that she claimed to be a cosmetic surgeon without undergoing a residency training programme or being registered by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.



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