Court orders AE-FUTHA to pay N50.2m damages to patient
By Nkechinyere Oginyi, Abakaliki
After four years of litigation, a federal high court sitting in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, has ordered the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) to pay Mrs. Ifeyinwa Awada, who was a patient to the hospital the sum of N50,200,000.
Justice Akintayo Aluko awarded the cost against AE-FUTHA over medical negligence by its staff in the suit filed against the hospital in 2106.
First and second plaintiffs Mrs. Ifeyinwa Awada and her father, Nwugo Chimere Nwugo, had dragged the hospital and its management to court seeking justice over death of the 1st plaintiff’s baby in her womb following alleged negligence by the hospital medical personnel.
The suit has the hospital, its board of management, a consultant gynaecologist, and the chief medical director of the hospital 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 had alleged that the hospital acted negligently in attending to her while she was in labour, an action that, according to her, resulted in the death of her baby in her womb.
A consultant gynaecologist who was on call the day she was supposed to be delivered of her baby allegedly left the hospital to an unknown destination without informing anyone and also allegedly refused to pick his calls or reply text messages sent to him when the first plaintiff’s condition became critical and his attention needed.
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 section (CS), the baby had died.
Nwugo told the court that his daughter was given a lifeless baby which she laboured to carry for nine months coupled with the risks and pains associated with pregnancy which she had to endure; all without a word of condolence or apology.
Justice Akintayo ruled that the plaintiffs had proved their case of medical negligence against the federal teaching hospital and the consultant gynaecologist and, therefore, awarded the cost of N50 million in favour of the complainants against the hospital.