Coroner indicts Premier Medical Centre for Peju Ugboma’s death

A coroner’s inquest into the death of a Lagos-based chef, Mrs. Adepeju Ugboma, has determined that her death was avoidable and resulted from medical negligence.

The Coroner, Chief Magistrate Mukaila Fadeyi, gave the verdict on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ugboma died on April 25, 2021, after undergoing hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in a bid to remove fibroids.

The surgery was carried on April 23, 2021, at the Premier Medical Centre, Lekki, Lagos State.

Ugboma was transferred to Evercare Hospital due to complications from the surgery but was pronounced dead shortly after.

The coroner said that the surgery lacked due diligence on the part of the physicians who performed it.

According to him, an autopsy revealed that the deceased died from massive inter-abdominal bleeding, as 500ml of blood and 900ml of clotted blood were found in her abdomen.

Fadeyi said that the deceased’s medical history was poorly documented and that doctors of Premier Medical Centre failed to involve appropriate surgeons.

According to him, absence of vital machines and unwillingness of the doctors to address the issues immediately after surgery, were questionable.

The coroner noted that the deceased was a wife and a dutiful mother whose dreams of a great future with her family was cut short.

He recommended that the code of ethics for medical practitioners should be tightly reviewed, adding that relevant agencies should do more sensitisation for members of the public to know their rights.

“State governments should not limit funds to state-owned hospitals but extend funding to private hospitals.

“Government and medical regulators should ensure that the standards by World Health Organisation for Packed-Cell Volume (PCV) of 38 per cent before any surgical operation should be maintained,” he added.

The coroner said that he could not award damages as requested by counsel to the Ugboma Family, noting that he only carried out an inquest.

Fadeyi commended the widower of the deceased, Mr Ijeoma Ugboma, and his family for seeking the truth.

Reacting to the verdict, the counsel, Mr Babatunde Ogungbami, said: “The dead is gone and will have to rest in perfect peace but I love the doggedness of the husband to seek the truth, to seek a closure.

“He decided to see through, and today it becomes very clear that we really need to pay particular attention to medical services in Nigeria.

“Clearly, this has been confirmed as medical negligence.

“The woman died leaving her children, and she paid a lot to get the best medical services yet, what happened?

‘Government has to come up and look to see how to rejig the system.”

NAN reports that a pathologist, Dr Olugbenga Oluwole, had in 2021 testified that there was an ‘abnormal’ massive collection of blood in the deceased’s abdominal cavity.

NAN also reports that sometime in November 2021, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Nigeria indicted three doctors at Premier Specialist Hospital, Lagos, with regard to the death of Ugboma.

The doctors are Akiseku Kazeem, Kelechi Renner and Motunrayo Amadu.

The indictment followed a petition by Mr Ijeoma Ugboma. (NAN)

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