Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko has awarded a total of N50,200,000 as cost against Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) now Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) over medical negligence.
Mrs Ifeyinwa Awada and her father, Nwugo Chimere Nwugo, who are first and second plaintiffs respectively, dragged the hospital and its management to court seeking justice over alleged medical negligence which allegedly resulted in the death of the first plaintiff’s baby in her womb.
The judgment which was delivered on Friday, 4th October, 2019, our correspondent gathered, was instituted in 2016.
The suit has the hospital, its Board of Management, a Consultant Gynaecologist, and the Chief Medical Director as defendants.
While N50 million was for the damages, the sum of N200,000 was the cost of litigations borne by the plaintiffs.
The first plaintiff, Mrs Awada, claimed that the hospital acted with negligence in attending to her while she was in labour; and that, resulted to the death of her baby in her womb.
It was gathered that a consultant gynaecologist who was on call the day she was supposed to be delivered of her baby left the hospital to an unknown destination without informing anyone and also allegedly refused to pick his calls or reply to text messages sent to him when the 1st plaintiff’s condition became critical and his attention needed.
It was further gathered that the father of the 1st plaintiff, Nwugo, who is also the 2nd plaintiff in the suit, had asked that the patient be discharged against medical advice to enable him take her to another hospital where he believed his daughter would be properly attended to but the officers of the hospital on duty allegedly refused to grant the request.
It was also gathered that before they could take the woman to the theatre for Caesarean Operation (CS), the baby had died.
Speaking to our correspondent on the telephone, the father of the first plaintiff, Nwugo, said that her daughter was given a lifeless baby which she laboured to carry for 9 months coupled with the risks and pains associated with pregnancy which she had had to endure – all without a word of condolence or apology.
The court, it was gathered, agreed with the plaintiffs, saying that they had proved their case of medical negligence against the federal hospital and the consultant gynaecologist and therefore awarded the cost of N50 million in favour of the complainants against the hospital.
It also awarded additional sum of N200,000 as the cost of the litigation which was also in favour of the plaintiffs after its assessment.
When contacted on the telephone to know the position of the hospital and the next move it would make, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Emeka Ogah, dismissed our reporter and hung up the phone.
Ogah said: “Why is it that you only call me on phone whenever there is an issue (in the hospital)?
“Please stop calling me. Whatever thing you want to write, go ahead and write,” he said before he hung up.
He did not also pick subsequent calls put to his phone.