Law

Court jails medical doctor for negligence

A medical doctor, Dr. Ejike Ferdinand Orji, has been sentenced to a year imprisonment for causing grievous harm, negligence and endangering the life of a 16-year-old patient. Dr. Orji, who is the Medical Director of Excel Medical Centre, Dolphin Estate, was handed the jail term by Justice Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos High Court in Tafawa Balewa Square.

In her judgement, Justice Akintoye held that the prosecution has been able to establish the essential ingredients of the offence of breach of duty, care and endangering the life of a 16-yearold patient. The judge further held that the defendant’s action falls below what is reasonably expected of a medical doctor.

“It is my opinion that the defendant committed a breach of duty as a medical practitioner when he wilfully refused to remove the fibreglass cast on the patient’s left leg despite complaints of severe pains, which thereby resulted in a compartment syndrome”, Justice Akintoye held. Justice Akintoye equally declared that Dr. Orji did not obtain the consent of the mother of the patient, who was in the hospital at the time the POP was done.

“The defendant had undertaken to carry out the procedure and give medical treatment to PW 10 (patient), which turned out to be injurious to his health. “The prosecution has been able to establish essential ingredients of the offences of breach of duty. I find that the prosecution has established essential ingredients in counts 2, 3, 4, and 6.

The prosecution has therefore proved their case beyond reasonable doubt. “Consequently, on counts one and five, the defendant, Dr. Ejike Ferdinand Orji, is thereby found not guilty. On count two, three, four and six, I find him guilty, and he is accordingly convicted”, the judge further held. In his plea for leniency, the convict’s lawyer, Ajibola Ariba, prayed to the court to tamper justice with mercy, adding that the convict is a first offender and has never been convicted for any crime in the past.

After the lawyer’s plea for mercy, Justice Akintoye held thus: “I have listened to the plea for leniency on behalf of the convict, that he is a first-time offender. Therefore, the defendant, Dr. Ejike Ferdinand Orji, is hereby convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment each on counts two, three, four and six. The sentence will run concurrently”.

 

It would be recalled that Dr. Orji was initially arraigned alongside his wife, Dr. (Mrs) Ifeyinwa Grace Orji. But his wife was discharged and acquitted following an application by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) that the Lagos State government wishes to discontinue the case against her.

According to the fact of the case as presented by the prosecutor, Babatunde Sunmonu, the convict had on July 26, 2018, at his hospital fixed a (POP) cast too tightly on a sixteen-year-old Ezi-Ashi’s leg, which caused him grievous harm. Ezi-Ashi had complained of discomfort and requested that the POP be relaxed, but the convict refused, which resulted in the teenager becoming unconscious, and he was subsequently rushed to the Reddington Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he was operated upon.

At the Reddington Hospital, it was discovered that the convict had sawed off the POP and damaged the muscles in the lower part of the boy’s leg, foot and toes with wide open sores that were at the initial stage of becoming ‘compartmentalised’.

The victim, according to the prosecutor, underwent four major surgeries and following his critical condition, two orthopaedic surgeons from the United States of America (USA) extracted the dead muscles from the leg, adding that it was a major struggle to save the boy’s life as he had to be flown to the USA for further attention.

 

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