Monday, 4 December 2017

Court Awards N10m Damages Over Death Of Pregnant Woman

Delta State High Court has awarded N10 million in damages against the Delta State Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, the Hospitals Management Board (HMB), and two others over the death of a pregnant woman in November 2012.

The court ruled that the pregnant woman, Elo Joseph, died due to medical negligence.

According to Sahara Reporters, the defendants charged are the Delta State Hospital Management Board, Delta State Attorney General Peter Mrakpor, Dr. Nwabua, and Dr. Mike Ozoemena.

Mrs. Joseph’s husband, Onome Joseph, had filed a suit against the defendants in 2013. Oghenejabor Ikimi, a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of the Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (CENTREP), represented Mr. Joseph in the trial.

Mr. Ikimi argued that the late Mrs. Joseph died due to negligence and the unexplained absence of members of the obstetric team who were supposed to be on duty at the Central Hospital in Ughelli, where Mrs. Joseph was transferred to for maternal care.

According to the plaintiff's lawyer, the deceased had registered at the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi for antenatal treatment on February 4, 2012. She regularly attended her appointments at the Otu-Jeremi hospital until November 25, 2012, when she began to experience signs of labor.

“Mr. Joseph, upon rushing his wife, Mrs. Elo Joseph, to the General Hospital, Otu-Jeremi, discovered to his dismay that there was only one nurse in the entire facility and not one doctor to attend to his said wife. At about 7:30 a.m., a nurse on duty at the hospital called Mr. Onome Joseph on the phone to inform him that his wife was bleeding, and upon his arrival, he was given a referral letter by a doctor to the obstetric team on call at the Central Hospital, Ughelli for expert management of the case of his wife,” Mr. Ikimi narrated.
“On getting to the Central Hospital, Ughelli an hour later, Mr. Joseph, to his surprise, was told by a houseman on duty at the obstetrics and gynecology ward that members of the obstetric team on call, including two medical consultants and two medical officers, who were supposed to be on duty at the said hospital had all gone away for the weekend.
“Mrs. Elo Joseph, who had labored for close to eight hours and whose bleeding condition had grown worse, was then referred to a private clinic in Ughelli by the said houseman where she had a stillbirth and later died of severe bleeding.”

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