Almost two years after the death of a Lagos-based pastry chef, Peju Ugboma, the coroner overseeing her inquest has indicted doctors of Premier Hospital for medical negligence.
The mother of two died after she suffered internal bleeding following an elective hysterectomy operation for a fibroid condition at the Victoria Island-based hospital in April 2021.
Until her death on 25 April, she was the founder of a pastry company, I Luv Desserts.
In June, the Lagos State government through the Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), shut down the intensive care unit of the hospital, pending the outcome of its investigation.
The coroner’s inquest which kick-started in May 2021 had 16 witnesses, including the widower, doctors, pathologist and others.
After the surgery in April, she complained of severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Her blood pressure dropped to as low as 50/30.
She died after she was referred from Premier Hospital to EverCare Specialist Hospital.
At Evercare, they discovered that she had no pulse, and subsequent CPR to revive her failed.
The deceased’s husband, Ijoma Ugboma, belived that she died due to negligence by doctors at Premier Hospital who attended to her.
How she died
The coroner said that the “only logical” insight to “her death is a result of the combination of lack of due diligence of the doctors.”
He said that the failure of appropriate response – substandard care and inadequate optimal care – contributed to her untimely demise.
He further said that other factors that led to her “avoidable death” was the absence of vital medical devices to detect the intra-abdominal bleeding, poor documentation of clinical notes and failure of the immediate involvement of appropriate surgeons.
The coroner said Premier Hospital owes its patient a better medical care.
He said that in his opinion, part-time doctors should not be engaged.
The coroner recommended that the code of conduct and ethics of medical practitioners “should be tighly reviewed to severely punish negligent doctors.”
He said that the state government should not limit funding to only govenment hospitals but should render funds to private facilities to buy equipment.
He said that government and regulatatory agencies should ensure that the standard PCV of WHO be strictly followed for both sexes before a surgery is carried out.
The coroner further said that regulatatory agencies should do more sensitisation on the rights of patients.
Husband, lawyer react to verdict
Speaking with journalists after the court sitting, the widower, Mr Ugboma, expressed satisfaction with the verdict.
He said that his lawyers will advise him on the appropriate step to take next.
“I’m very happy with the outcome of the inquest, it’s been a very long one. The circumstances of my wife’s death were not satisfactory,” he said.
“I know that tonight…, my children because they actually told me to send them a message in school to their teacher as soon as the ruling is out.”
His lawyer, Babatunde Ogungbamila, said she got justice but the best medical services failed her.
He further said that going forward they will apply for the verdict, seek compensation and ensure that the doctors are held to account.
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