A SPEECH DELIVERED ON THE 31ST OF AUGUST 2017 BY MR NGOZI UCHEBUEGO DURING THE PRESS CONFERENCE CONVENED OVER THE NEGLIGENT MURDER OF HIS WIFE BY FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER ASABA
Good afternoon to the gentle men of the press, civil society organizations, legal practitioners present, ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Mr. Ngozi Uchebuego, a Citizen of Nigeria, a professional land Surveyor by occupation, a husband, father, brother and a son. I have heard gory tales and read of a few on the pages of newspaper or books, but little did I know that I will be standing here today to tell the world of my own gory tale, the tales which many Nigerians suffer in silence everyday as a result of the decadence and anti-oath practices in the Nigerian health sector. The silence of many victims of the Nigerian Health sector has encouraged the prevalence and provided an enabling environment for this man-made wreckage to thrive at the expense of Nigerian lives.
I want the world to hear my story in the hope that it will lead to curbing future occurrences and ensure that no one else will ever have this kind of story to tell like I now do.
On the 11th day of June 2016, I walked down the aisle with the woman of my dreams; Mrs. Rita Uchebuego at the House on the rock Assembly Asaba, Delta State. I met her while she was serving as a corp member at Issele Ukwu, Delta state, when I went to the camp to preach the gospel to the Christian corp members.
We lived in peace and love whilst our happiest day appeared to be the day we discovered that she was pregnant with twins. We proceeded to register for ante natal services at Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Asaba wherein a patient’s card number; FMCP/0270822 was issued to her. The consultant assigned to her was stated to be; Dr Ojenuwa. Sadly, just shortly after we registered for the ante natal services at the Federal Medical Centre Asaba, the hospital went on strike.
During the pendency of the strike, Mr. Albert Omate a friend of mine, recommended Graceland Specialist Hospital and Maternity to me, which is owned by One Doctor Maduakor, who also doubles as a consultant obstetrician/Gynecologist of the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Center Asaba. when we got to Graceland Specialist Hospital and Maternity we met Dr. Maduakor who insisted that we register for ante natal services at Graceland Specialist Hospital and Maternity owned by him. This request was unsuspectingly heeded by me and my wife. We were consequently issued with a patient card number; 2666.
Dr. Maduakor became my wife’s private doctor by virtue of which he conducted series of tests on her in respect of her pregnancy and from one of such test results he informed us that my wife has blood shortage issues in her pregnancy because she is carrying twins, this got us worried, but upon further enquiry Dr. Maduakor informed us that it was normal with pregnant women with twins to have shortage of blood issues as the twins would be sucking from her blood massively, but that there will be blood transfusion.
Subsequently, the strike at FMC was called off and normal activities started again at the hospital, this warranted my wife to commence her usual and regular attendance of the ante natal clinic with FMC again. Dr. Ojenuwa who is her consultant had confirmed my wife’s Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) to be the 19th of March, 2017, but on Monday the 6th day of March, 2017 my wife Mrs Rita Uchebuego went for ante-natal check up at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba when Dr. Ojenuwa discovered that her blood pressure was 160/100mmHg and advised that my wife be admitted so that they can monitor her blood pressure until the next day given the fact that it was high.
When I returned from the site where I was working, I drove to the hospital to pick up my wife and she informed me that Dr. Ojenuwa said she should be admitted. Being worried, I requested to see the doctor but the said doctor was not present at the hospital anymore. While I was still worried, some nurses accosted me and asked if I was the husband to Mrs. Rita Uchebuego? I replied yes. One of the nurses now brought out my wife’s ante-natal file and took me to the pay point where I was made to pay the sum of N10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) only for what they called deposit fee and afterwards my wife was admitted at the O&G ward of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. I stayed with my wife until about 9:00pm on that said day and I subsequently left to return the next morning as there was no place for me to stay and the nurses had started locking up the doors.
The next morning being the 7th of March, 2017 I asked my wife’s mother to join my wife at the hospital as I went to site very early. when I returned from the site at about 12:00pm, to check up on my wife at the hospital, I was astonished, surprised at what I saw, to my uttermost shock and dismay, I met my wife passing through excruciating pains and her stomach was visibly moving up and down while she was also screaming. This made me terrified and so I enquired to know what the problem was and she informed me that she had been induced by the nurse on duty on Dr. Ojenuwa’s instruction, but I did not know what it meant to be induced, So I asked questions and upon inquiry, I was told that it was very dangerous to induce a woman pregnant with twins, at this point, I became visibly shocked. It was also revealed to me that inducement can only be done when permission had been sought and obtained from the expecting mother and her husband; this aggravated my worry as nobody sought for my permission before the inducement was carried out.
At this point, I requested to see Dr. Ojenuwa as a result of the agony my wife was going through which was beyond normal but all efforts to see the said doctor failed as he was nowhere near the hospital premises. This put me in a position where I was left in the dark so I demanded to know why they induced my wife when they earlier told her that they were only admitting her to monitor her blood pressure, and her Expected Date of Delivery was still far away but the nurses asked me to calm down that my wife would soon put to bed.
Upon this assurance, and the presence of my wife’s mother at the hospital, I quickly rushed out to deliver some survey plans to my clients, as soon as I was done I came back to the hospital at about 6:00pm and by this time, my wife could no longer get up from the bed and the pains had increased even as she informed me that she was induced a second time, still without my consent or permission first had and obtained.
It was our believe that Dr. Ojenuwa threw the law into the wind and in utter disregard for human life, authorized the inducement of a woman who was pregnant with twins and whose EDD had not arrived and disappeared into thin air as he was not around to monitor my wife’s condition afterwards.
The next day being Wednesday the 8th day of March, 2017, I met my wife at the labour ward where she was being forced to push and when this yielded no positive result as she was already tired, my wife was suddenly booked for an emergency caesarean section after suffering from two (2) failed unauthorized inducements. Due to the reality of the caesarean section, I was asked to provide an extra pint of blood and I quickly put calls across to the laboratory and the blood was made available immediately. The nurses were preparing my wife to be rolled to the theatre for emergency caesarean.
They brought a document for me to sign and I read and signed, but more than an hour after I signed the document, NOTHING WAS DONE to my wife, who at this stage was groaning in pains. While the nurses and one Dr. Longway were joking and laughing aloud, even as my wife was wriggling with serious pains on the wheel bed. I asked to know the reason for the delay but nobody replied me, I kept asking until Dr. Longway asked who is this woman? Nobody answered him. It was at that point that he said that my wife’s condition was more critical than the woman who was lying at the theatre and that she should be moved into the theatre for urgent attention. when I was told that the doctor who is to perform the caesarean operation has still not come despite calls to him, I enquired to know who he was, and it turned out to be Dr Maduakor my wife’s private doctor, this made me happy and I called Dr. Maduakor who sounded really happy to hear my voice but when I told him that I was at the Federal Medical Center Asaba and my wife is the patient they just called him about, I pleaded with him to come and save my wife. His voice changed and he dropped the call. We waited endlessly for Dr. Maduakor to come but to no avail despite the fact that he was supposed to be on call at that moment. At about 20 minutes later, I called Dr. Maduakor again for the second time passionately pleading with him to come. He did not show up. Fortunately, at about 12:00noon one Dr Adigba came and took my wife in for the operation and I donated another pints of blood, making two (2) pints of blood at my wife’s disposal.
At about 1:30pm my twin beautiful baby girls came out from the theatre. The surgery ended at about 2:00pm when my wife was rolled out from the theatre to the O&G ward with a pint of blood connected to her body through her hand. I was still in the hospital premises at about 5:00pm when a nurse called me to go get them drugs for my twins on the instruction of the doctor at the Neo natal department, so I left my wife in the O & G ward. I was shocked to my bones when I got back to the O & G ward at about 6:30pm and saw that the blood connected to my wife was disconnected and a large part of it was still remaining whilst she was wide awake at this point in time. I asked her why the blood was disconnected? She did not know why, so I asked the nurse on duty one nurse Egbuobi but her response was a cold silence, This made me alarmed to the extent that I started shouting to see the person in charge but the nurse said I should go out of the ward claiming that I was disturbing, it was untill after about three (3) hours of my disturbance that the nurse removed the half pint of blood and said I should go to the lab and ask them why the blood was disconnected. I hurriedly rushed down to the laboratory with the blood where I met one Mr. Moses for the test/cross examination which took about forty-five (45) minutes.
A lab test result was given to me and the half pint of blood with an instruction that the blood should be reconnected, but on getting back to the O & G ward, I gave nurse Egbuobi the half pint of blood together with the laboratory result and the oral instruction that it should be reconnected, but she just dropped it on her table, laid back and she took no actions. Neither did she connect the blood back despite all pleas from me, which left me stranded, perplexed and worried. However, I adamantly remained with my wife at the O & G ward till about 2:00am on the 9th of March, 2017 before leaving her for my house in the care of her mother.
I arrived my house to get a little rest, but at about two hours and fifty two minutes, my wife called me at about 4:52am to come and help her with the oxygen fixed on her as it was not properly connected thereby causing her great discomfort. This is the same discomfort she complained to the nurse Egbuobi who did nothing about it. In the twinkle of an eye, I quickly wore my clothes and rushed down to the hospital, arriving there at about 5:05am where I met my wife struggling with the Oxygen fixed on her and tearfully beckoning on me to come and assist her. I did not know anything about oxygen neither do I know how to fix it, so I shouted for help.
Nurse Egbuobi shouted back at me and saying, “are you not the husband? go and bring blood”, I told her that the half pint of blood was still there and not connected to my wife, that my wife is complaining of oxygen while she is talking about blood, but she insisted that I should pay and bring receipt before they can connect blood. So I ran out to pay for blood at the pay point of the laboratory, which was against the instruction given to my wife and I at the first ante natal orientation in respect of donating blood in advance, which I had fully complied with by donating a pint of blood in advance.
The very essence of my rushing into action was because of the condition I saw my wife in, even as my memory thought about our new born twin girls. within seven to ten minutes, I got back to the ward with the receipt of payment only to see that nurses had surrounded my wife’s bed and Dr. Okorie was crying. I was too shocked to totally comprehend what my brain cells were inferring to me, so I presented the receipt of payment to them to fix the blood, but the said nurse Egbuobi told me, “you see am now, you see am now” whilst one of the other nurses was making a call saying that the patient has finally given up. My world and that of my twin babies’ seemed to have crumbled instantly.
The unimaginable had happened and the most painful journey of my life had just taken its first breadth. It was at that point reality dawned on me that my wife had been murdered in cold blood. Then I quickly ran to Dr. Okorie to inquire from him why they refused to reconnect the blood to my wife despite her critical state of having given birth to twins through caesarean operation? And he exclaimed “Bottlenecks!” “Bottlenecks!” I started praying for my wife as I could not believe that she was dead.
Furthermore, about 10 minutes later, Dr. Maduakor whom I have been calling for the past 24hours but refused to show up came into the ward and went straight to my wife’s file at her bed side, while the nurses took the drugs they made me pay for at the hospital to be administered to her which they never administered on her from the time she came out from the theatre till when she gave up as a result of their negligence and abandonment, The moment they had finished collecting al the items aforesaid, they disappeared and the new personnel reporting for work rolled my wife away to the morgue.
The obvious acts of the FMC medical personnel which led to the death of my wife filled me with so much grief and a decision to ensure that the perpetrators must be brought to book. So on the 10th of March, 2017 I went to the office of the MD of FMC Asaba; Dr. Victor Osiatuma to lay a complaint but I met his absence. So I put my complaint in writing and went back to his office to submit it formally which was received at his office on the 17th day of March 2017, and he promised to look into it, but to my greatest shock I did not hear anything from the office of the Medical Director for about six weeks. So I did a follow-up visit, and got to see him at his office. I tried to inquire from the Medical Director after six weeks as to why I have not heard from them regarding my complaint, then Dr. Maduakor came into the office of the Medical Director while I was there and told me that “whatever has happened is a thing of the past and I should see it as a thing of the past”.
He also said that he “had a lot of loops which he had not opened”. He said all these in presence of the Medical Director, and this made me perceive that justice would not be served in this matter from the Hospital (FMC Asaba) so I decided to approach any and every other external disciplinary body. I retained the services of a lawyer and couldn’t keep up with the financial burden until, a team of 5 Lawyers vide the law firm named; Reuben Izeze and Partners [humanity Chamber] took it up on themselves on pro bono bases (free legal services).
The team of lawyers at Reuben Izeze and Partners proceeded to put up petitions to
Medical And Dental Council Of Nigeria,
Federal Ministry Of Health,
House Of Representative Committee On Public Petitions,
The Chairman, Senate Committee On Health
Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs And Social Development.
The United Nations Development Programme
The House Of Representative Committee On Public Petitions served the team of lawyers at Reuben Izeze and Partners with a hearing Notice for me, the hearing was slated for the 18th day of July 2017.
A hearing commenced on the said date and is still pending as at the date of this report, the next adjourned date is the 18th of October 2017. The Medical and Dental Council Of Nigeria, constituted a panel in accordance with their practice, hence the petition was forwarded to the Medical and Dental Practitioners Investigating Panel.
The panel commenced exchange of evidence on oath between myself and the concerned personel at FMC. Furthermore, The federal ministry of health replied informing me of the receipt of my petition but I have not heard anything from them ever since. The Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs And Social Development replied stating that the complaint ran ultra vires their mandate. In addition, The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health; Senator Lanre Tejuoso and The United Nations Development Programme never replied nor exchanged any correspondence with me in respect of my petition.
The next phase of this painful discourse is important as it contains the evidence/excuses of some of the medical personnel at FMC made in an attempt to vindicate themselves, but none the less, unknowingly roping themselves the more amidst a heavy train of multiple contradictions and childish denials cum deliberate and questionable omissions.
Dr Ojenuwa Sunday Abiodun who is the consultant in charge of my wife stated on oath sworn to at the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Asaba Judicial Division on the 25th day of July 2017, that upon examining my wife’s condition on the 6th day of March 2017, he discovered that she had a high B.P of 160/100mmHg, so he called a conference of the medical practitioners in the Ante Natal group in other to take a concrete decision, however, two out of the six Doctors were absent as usual without any excuse from the conference. He stated that these two doctors were in the habit of deserting their duty posts because the Medical Director; Dr Victor Osiatuma, is backing them up. Dr Ojenuwa alongside One Dr Anunobi and Dr Onwuka held the meeting to consider the best approach to my wife’s condition. He stated that during the conference, Dr Anunobi suggested an elective C/S but the other two doctors objected to this and rather voted for an induction of Labour which is to be carried out after the patient and her husband (that is me) must have been counseled about this first.
The conclusion of the team of doctors, was that two days from that day which was to be the 9th day of March 2017, Dr Anunobi who was at the conference is to induce my wife after he must have taken out the first two preceding days of 7th and 8th of March 2017 to prepare and work up the patient for the IOL. Dr Ojenuwa stated that his instruction was that, the following investigations were to be done by Dr Anunobi on the 7th and 8th before induction is to be done on the 9th, after the test result must have been communicated to him, the investigations were; PVC, GROUPING CROSS MATCHING OF 2.0 UNITS OF BLOOD, URINALYSIS FOR GLUCOSE PROTENURIA (Which means to check for excess amount of protein in the urine of my wife).
The aforementioned investigations were to be done for two days whilst observing my wife’s blood pressure before inducement of labour can be done on her. It was shocking according to Dr Ojenuwa, when he discovered that these tests were either not carried out or the outcome was not communicated to him as instructed before the induction was done expressly against his instruction.
Dr Maduakor Godwin Chukwuma, in his own statement on oath sworn to at the Delta State High Court, Asaba Judicial Divison on the 24th Day of July 2017, revealed amongst other things that my wife was induced as early as 6:20am on the 7th of March 2017 as against the earlier instructed date of 9th March 2017. (and obviously without the required investigations, and without any counseling session for me as the husband of the patient to agree to the induction of labour as recommended by the Ante Natal Conference).
Dr. Maduakor’s statement on oath also went further to reveal that as at 7:30 am of that same 7th /03/2017, that is one hour and ten minutes after the unauthorized and unconsented induction was carried out, the Urinalysis investigation which ought to come first before the inducement, was then conducted, and same revealed that my wife had as high as 2 pluses of Protenuria. This was why the test ought to precede the inducement amongst other things. Dr Maduakor revealed further that, my wife was therefore diagnosed of “pre-eclampsia” which means the existence of significant proteinuria (protein) in a pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with gestational hypertension. (In other words, pregnancy induced hypertension).
The (NICE) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendation for standard medical practice is that, when pre-enclampsia is diagnosed, the woman should be admitted and blood pressure should be treated for gestational hypertension. The NICE recommends delivery with a stable blood pressure and delivered of their baby after stabilization. However, this was not done for my wife as, she was induced at 6:20 am, whilst her blood pressure showed 170/110mmHg, meaning it was very high and needed to be stabilized before birth especially in the presence of two pluses of Protenuria which increased to Three pluses by the next day, as stated by Dr Maduakor.
The above revelations shows that my wife’s life was simply placed like that of a chicken ready for the slaughter due to medical negligence. It will interest you to know, that Dr Ojenuwa, upon realizing the obvious neglect to his instructions which led to the death of my wife, issued a query dated 5th April to Dr Anunobi, Dr Iyiola and Dr Osemeke, for not following his instructions to only conduct the routine follow up investigations requested whilst stabilizing my wife’s hypertension.
In the said query, Dr Ojenuwah demanded to know why the IOL was done on the 7th day of March 2017 rather than the tentative 9th March 2017. Why the results of the requested investigation was not communicated to him prior to the IOL etc, but to Dr Ojenuwah’s utter disappointment, the Medical Director; Dr Victor Osiatuma in his usual way of romancing and encouraging staff gross indiscipline instructed that Dr Anunobi should not answer the query, but should disregard same. This was the same outcome to the queries issued by Dr Ojenuwah to Dr Iyiola and Dr Osemeke for absenting themselves from the Ante Natal Conference meeting which considered the health condition of my wife.
Dr Ojenuwah, went on through a letter written to the Honorable minister of state for health, by his lawyers; Okwelum and Co, wherein he stated that he was amazed that they started the induction of labour on Tuesday the 7th /03/2017, the team on call had not completed induction of labour by Wednesday morning when an emergency Caeserean was done by another team of doctors on call. Dr Ojenuwah went further to state two names of deceased women who died at the FMC Asaba due to the negligence and leadership incompetence obtainable at the federal medical center, the names mentioned were; Mrs Opiah Stella and Mrs Amuamuzia Faith.
I will like to go back to examining the response of Dr Maduakor in his statement on oath. He stated that he resumed his call on the 8th /03/2017 when he allegedly studied my wife’s file. He stated that she had been induced but omitted to state the details of instructions on the patient’s file containing the express instructions given by Dr Ojenuwa. Why did Dr Maduakor fail to state the express instruction of Dr Ojenuwah on my wife’s file, is he hiding anything? Why did Dr Maduakor say that my wife “was booked for emergency ceaserean section” without stating who booked her for same? Why the omission? Why the secrecy in the identity of the Doctor who booked my wife for a ceaserean?. Could it be because my late wife was operated upon before induction was even completed? as was stated by Dr Ojenuwah?
Furthermore, why didn’t Dr Maduakor ensure that everything which was a precursor to the C/S had been done and completed before the C/S was conducted? Furthermore, at the investigative hearing of the House of Representative Committee on public petitions, Dr Maduakor stated that he was never around the patient, my wife during her stay because he had an injury and had to write to the Medical Director for permission to be absent, because the said permission was granted by Dr Victor Osiatuma. However, Dr Maduakor is now stating that he was around and was at the ante natal ward and even at the theatre.
Furthermore, the secrecy and multiple denials that has followed my wife’s death, has led to multiple contradictions. A major contradiction can be seen in the computation of time given by Dr Maduakor in his statement on oath, he stated that he was called by 6:25am on 9th /03/2017 by the Senior Registrar on call informing him that my wife was gasping for breath, which made him rush to the hospital. Whereas he still went on to state that my wife died at 6:15am. So how come is it that Dr Maduakor is being called to come and handle the deteriorating health condition of a patient who had already been certified dead at 6:15am?
It would interest you to know that the case note of my wife at FMC Asaba, states that she died of blood transfusion reaction as was stated by Dr Maduakor, whereas, the medical lab scientists of FMC Asaba, who re-cross matched the blood confirmed that the blood was compatible and couldn’t react. So what is FMC Asaba really hiding? Who is FMC Asaba hiding? Why the contradictions denotative of a chain of lies?
Dr Maduakor in his statement on oath is claiming that he was effectively communicated with and that he did all that he ought to do for my wife, but this assertion is questionable in the light of the query issued to Nurse L. A Egbuobi over my wife’s death by the FMC Asaba on the 3rd day of April, 2017 by the Assistant Director (Administration) on behalf of the Medical Director, wherein it was stated thus; “enquiry conducted revealed that as the duty Nurse, you acted inappropriately by failing to communicate properly with the doctors on duty and patient’s relations during the critical period in the management of the patient. Your action above amounts to dereliction of duty.” In the light of this, how come in one breath, Dr maduakor is stating that he was communicated with whilst the enquiry of the hospital is showing otherwise, which correlates with the testimony of my experience with Nurse Egbuobi.
Dr longway on the other hand, expressly stated that he went on to evaluate and prep my wife for caesarean without the use of her case note this is reckless and unprofessional, given that vital information may be contained in the case note of the patient. Dr Longway asserted that in order to ascertain the status of some contents of the absent case note he called Dr Maduakor to ask about the emergency status, grade of caesarean section, findings of last clinical examination by Obstetricians. This assertion was outrightly denied by Dr Maduakor in his statement on oath even as he states that, all Dr Longway wanted to confirm from him was weather the patient, my wife was an emergency patient.
This shows the level of deceit involved in the various statements being given in respect of my wife’s death, whilst exposing how she was attended to by an Anaesthesiologist without any information nor record of her, available to him. Furthermore, Dr Longway in his statement on oath failed to mention the name of the resident Doctor from O & G who came to inform him of an emergency case of my wife which was without a written consult. So whose duty was it to issue a written consult?
In addition, it’s important to note that Dr Ojenuwah stated through his lawyers that the management of the Federal Medical Center Asaba, set up a two man external panel, constituting; Professor Fasuba of OAU Teaching Hospital and Dr Ande of UBTH, to investigate the death of my wife amongst other recent maternal deaths recorded in FMC Asaba, The Panel completed its job and came up with a report which has been protected and hidden ever since, even as the hospital management has refused to inform me nor any other person of the outcome or content of the report, which i reasonably suspect is being used to protect some Doctors. The said Dr Victor Osiatuma was asked to submit a copy of the said report by the House committee on public petitions at Abuja for over two consecutive times, but he failed and refused to do so.
I urge that the report be released immediately. As a matter of fact, the Medical Director vide the Vanguard newspaper of 5th April 2017, stated that my wife died because she reacted negatively to blood administered on her. This statement was made whilst the medical director had not yet informed me of the cause of death of my wife, as he had only informed me that they were still doing investigations.
Furthermore this assertion of the Medical Director runs fowl of the certification of the blood as fit for administration on my wife by the lab scientists at Federal Medical Center Asaba.
It is my demand that all medical personnel involved in the death of my wife be brought to book. There should be a complete overhaul of the obviously incompetent administration of the federal medical center Asaba, which has led to the death of many expecting mothers in recent times as well as the numerous amount of babies that die at the hands of their doctor at Federal Medical Centre Asaba.
Ngozi Uchebuego- Husband
On behalf of the Uchebuego family.