Medical Tribunal Suspends Two Doctors over Death of Patients

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Two medical doctors, Dr. Ikeji Charles and Dr. Terhemba Lan, have been suspended for six months for allegedly causing the death of patients in their care.

A tribunal set up by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria in Abuja yesterday suspended Charles of Kefland Family Hospital, Apo Mechanic Extension, Abuja, for causing the death of Fred Akobundu, who was operated for hernia.

Charles, who was arraigned in September 2019, faced a four-count charge bordering on incompetence and negligence. He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

However, while delivering judgment yesterday, the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, Prof Abba Hassan, said the panel considered the plea of defence counsel for both accused doctors before coming to a decision not to strike out their names from medical register.

Hassan said: “In considering the plea in the case of Dr. Charles, who has been practitioner for over 30 years, the defence counsel requested for leniency and to temper justice with mercy. The tribunal considered this and, therefore, we are not giving him the maximum sentence (of striking his name off the register). He is going to be on six month suspension from the day of this judgment.”

Also, the tribunal found Dr. Lan of Mpape in Bwari area of Abuja guilty of actions that led to the death of Echefule Obiayi, and was suspended for six months.

He was accused of operating a hospital at Mpape, Bwari area of Abuja without a registered doctor or nurse, while relying on community extension workers to carry out health services. Prosecutors said his action endangered the life of Obiayi, who approached the hospital for treatment, adding that the victim later died.

While delivering judgment on the case, Prof Hassan said: “The tribunal considered the plea by the defence counsel that the doctor is a first offender who has been practicing for over 20 years without any query and has been in suspension since July 2019.

“However, in this case, there is a loss of life as a result of professional misconduct and infamous practice. The tribunal has an option of giving maximum sentence of striking his name off the register, but in view of what had been outlined by the defence counsel, the tribunal has decided to suspend you for six month from the date of this judgment.”

Prosecution counsel, Sanusi Musa, and defence counsel, Terlumun Azoon, both expressed satisfaction on the tribunal’s verdict.