From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (MDPDT) will, on Monday, begin trial of 19 medical doctors who were alleged to had been involved in professional misconduct and other related offences.
The tribunal is made up of senior members of medical and dental professionals led by the Chairman, Prof. Abba Waziri, who usually assure the doctors that the tribunal was neither out to witchhunt nor ridicule anybody’s carrier, but to give opportunity to the accused persons to explain themselves, thus giving the tribunal bases for judgement.
The sitting of the disciplinary committee which is scheduled to hold at Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) headquarters in Abuja, will last till Thursday, when judgements would be delivered on some concluded cases, while others would be adjourned to another date.
The doctors’ invitation to the sitting was based on reports and petitions against them by some unsatisfied patients or concerned party regarding their professional engagements, thus demanding for a deeper look into the matter by the MDCN.
Some of the doctors are appearing before the disciplinary tribunal for the first time after their alleged professional misconduct was reported to the MDCN for disciplinary action, while some others are “carry over” cases from previous sittings of the tribunal that awaiting judgment or conclusion.
While some of the accused doctors appeared in person to defend themselves, others who could not be present at the tribunal sitting are allowed to be represented by their Counsels.
A senior official of MDCN who pleaded anonymity expressed fear that the alleged offences committed by some of the doctors could led to outright withdrawal of their practicing licences and de-registration of their name from MDCN register.
For instance, at the last sitting of the Tribunal in August, two doctors, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Adeshina Jenrola, and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Dr. Silas Ochejele, were arraigned before for gross professional misconduct that led to the amputation of an arm of a patient, Rebecca Olatunbuson.
The patient, Olatunbuson, was said to had visited the hospital, Madonna Hospital located at Makurdi, Benue State, some years ago for a surgery on growing fibroid in her body, but ended up with her arm amputated because of alleged professional incompetence/negligence of the doctors that attended to her.
Prosecuting Counsel, Sunusi Musa, told journalists that preliminary findings revealed that the incident happened when Consultant Gynecologist, Dr. Ochejele, engaged in blood transfusion to enable him conduct the surgery, but could not complete the process, and invited the Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Jenrola, to assist, which both of them could not handle, thus resulting in gangrene which led to the amputation of the arm.
Musa explained: “The patient went in for surgery on fibroid but, regrettably, returned with her hand amputated. We believe that there was a complete negligence during blood transfusion which led to gangrene (death of body tissue due to either lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection).
“In such a situation, the doctors cannot be allowed to go scot-free because the patient has had permanent injury, in this case lost hand. The patient is Secretary by profession, and with this, she won’t be able to function maximally and her source of livelihood is grossly affected. This kind of situation is a dent on the image of the profession and should not be allowed.”
One of the accused persons, Dr. Jenrola, who pleaded not guilty to the one count charge of professional misconduct, was however, reminded by the tribunal that the offence is contrary to Rules 29.4h and 31 of Code of Medical Ethics in Nigeria, 2008 edition, and punishable under sections 16 (1) (a) and (2) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act CAP. M8LFN 2004 (as amended).
Meanwhile, the lawyer to Dr. Jenrola, Tarkaa Akula, expressed confidence that his client will be discharged and acquitted as soon as possible because, according to him, the prosecution cannot prove their case base on available records which has no evidence implicating his client.