The family of late Peju Ugboma, a Lagos-based chef, Thursday accused Premier Specialist Medical Centre, Lekki, of unprofessional conduct resulting in her untimely demise.
In a statement signed by Nwabeze Ugboma on behalf of the family and made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the deceased died days after undergoing fibroid surgery in the hospital.
The family said an independent autopsy by pathologists at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) showed that Mrs Ugboma suffered internal bleeding after the surgical procedure.
The autopsy discovered, the family said, that she had about two litres of blood in her abdomen and pelvic area.
Mrs Ugboma, until her death, was the founder and chief executive officer, of a pastry company, I Luv Desserts, with over ten years of experience. She also ran a blog, The Service Critic, where she reviews her “dining experiences.”
She was formerly the Head of Business Strategy at First Independent Global before resigning and setting up her company.
A search by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that she made her last post on her Instagram page on April 15.
How it happened
According to Mr Ugboma, the events leading to Mrs Ugboma’s death on April 25 began when she was scheduled for an elective surgery following a fibroid issue three days earlier as advised by doctors at Premier Specialist Medical Centre.
“She walked into the Hospital by herself unaided as it was by no means an emergency surgical procedure. She had concluded all the necessary tests required before the surgery, including ECG, PCV, and Covid -19 tests. Her vitals were okay and she had no preexisting conditions prior to surgery,” Mr Ugboma said.
“All payments were made for the preliminary tests. The hospital demanded their account be funded to the tune of N1.5 million and the family deposited N1 million immediately.
“The surgery was carried out on the morning of Friday 23rd April 2021, by Dr Akinsiku, Iwuh, Asemota, Renner, and some other medical personnel in Premier Specialist Hospital, Victoria Island.”
Meanwhile, after the surgery was done, Mrs Ugboma complained of intense abdominal pain and discomfort to her husband who thought it was normal and temporal since she had just come out of surgery.
“However, her blood pressure had dropped to as low as the range of 50/30. The doctors then gave her a blood transfusion because she had lost a lot of blood during the surgery,” her husband said.
“Early on Saturday morning, she told her husband that the veins on her hands had collapsed and the hospital wanted to give her fluids on a vein close to her neck and collarbone.
“She also mentioned that the doctors said her kidneys were not functioning optimally, and a consultant nephrologist had been called in to come in that Saturday morning. This was a shock to them both as all tests prior to surgery were fine. The Consultant eventually came in as scheduled but dismissed both their concerns.
“By Saturday evening, she had been given 3 pints of blood. It’s worthy to note that none of the gynecologists who performed the surgery attended to her throughout that Saturday despite all her pain and concerns expressed by her husband.
“That same Saturday evening, her blood pressure dipped further. Dr. Renner told her husband that they would need to move her to the ICU. He was asked to pay an additional N1.5 million before she could be moved to the ICU and he paid the money without delay. Peju was admitted into the ICU immediately after payment.
One of the doctors, Mr Renner, then told her Mr Ugboma that he needed an additional three pints of newly donated B+ blood, as Premier Specialist Hospital did not have any in its blood bank.
“This left him with no choice but to go on a blood donation drive from friends and family. Several donors were screened and they donated a total of nine pints of blood that night.
“As this was going on, Peju kept complaining of severe pains, and her eyes had turned yellowish. At about midnight that Saturday, she was sedated intravenously.
“By 6.30 a.m. on Sunday, her husband was surprised to find out that his wife had been placed on a respirator. Dr Renner told him that her condition had deteriorated through the night. Her husband saw that she looked pale, and her eyes had been taped as if to keep them closed, but she was still breathing and the monitors were still reading.”
The statement said that the deceased’s husband, who was worried about his wife’s deteriorating condition, reached out to a family friend who is a UK-based medical consultant gynecologist. The consultant raised alarm and insisted on speaking with the doctors.
The UK-based consultant spoke to Dr Asemota, Iwuh, and the medical director, Dr Oshinowo “stated expressly that he was of the opinion that she had severe internal bleeding and needed to be moved back to the operating theatre for the bleeding to be arrested immediately,” but the doctors ignored the advice.
The family said on Sunday morning, Mr Ugboma was informed that his wife would be transferred to Evercare Hospital in Lekki for a CT scan and possible dialysis.
The family noted that the transfer was done three hours after her husband was informed and he was asked to pay another N1 million which he did immediately.
“However, it took three hours before she was moved to Evercare hospital in Lekki area of the state. Immediately she arrived there she was met by their medical team and taken to the ICU. Her husband was asked to pay another N1 million at Evercare, and he made the payment immediately.
The family noted that Mrs Ugboma was pronounced dead an hour after she was transferred to Evercare hospital.
“The head of the ICU detected that Peju did not have a pulse and emergency CPR commenced immediately. This failed and she was pronounced dead by 2.20 pm on Sunday.
“Premier Specialist Hospital offered to do an autopsy, however, the family insisted on an independent autopsy. The independent pathologist requested Peju’s full medical report prior to the autopsy as is normal practice but Premier Specialist Hospital management was playing games to stall releasing it.
“It took a visit by the family of the deceased to Premier Hospital who engaged the doctors and management in a shouting match and nearly resulted in a physical confrontation before the medical reports were released.
“The deceased’s family alleged that the medical reports sent to the independent pathologist may have been tampered with or altered.
“It is clear that Peju bled internally from Friday after the surgery till Sunday when she died, and it is shocking to note that Premier hospital was negligent enough not to pick this up and save her life. Peju’s tragic and unfortunate death has left behind two heartbroken little girls, a grieving husband, and an aged mother and loved ones.
Mr Ugboma told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that the medical record given to him by Premier Specialist Medical Centre was incomplete.
“I had to go and block their gate and started telling their patients they are murderers and when I started threatening them, that was when they now gave us a medical record. Before they wanted to give us a medical report to the pathologist,” he said during a telephone interview.
“When the pathologist saw the medical record, he said it looks like it’s not complete, that they withheld some information.”
He stated that a lawsuit would be filed against the hospital.
“We are already talking to our lawyers,” he added.
Since Friday, PREMIUM TIMES had made repeated efforts to reach the management of Premier Medical Centre. A lady, who spoke on the phone and identified herself as Ijeoma Ezimoha, said her “superior would get back” to this newspaper.
On Saturday, another lady who answered the phone and identified herself as Mary said they would get back.
They were yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.