By Royal Ibeh, Lagos
Following the deaths of Mrs. Peju Ugboma and Ms. Omolara Omoyajowo, due to alleged negligence including failure of professional standards and delay in responses to treatment by two hospitals, the federal government said it will enforce the Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR), to ensure that justice is served.
Recall that between Friday, May 7 and Sunday, May 9, the sad and unfortunate deaths of Mrs. Ugboma after a surgical procedure at Premier Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos State and Ms. Omolara Omoyajowo after receiving care at Beachland Specialist Hospital, Arepo, Ogun State, domiated the social media space.
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In both cases, relatives and friends alleged mismanagement including failure of professional standards as well as lack of patient care/customer service standards including timely responses to requests.
In a press statement on Monday, the federal government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), said the commission will investigate and consider whether service providers sufficiently respect rights of consumers and applicable standards of care in compliance with the PBoR, including providing redress or remedies for injured consumers.
Signed by the executive vice chairman, of the commission, Babatunde Irukera, the statement said in 2018, the Commission in collaboration with multiple healthcare professional associations led by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA ) and the Federal Ministry of Health promoted, created, and secured the adoption of the PBoR.
“Further, and in addition, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) mandates the Commission to enforce ‘any enactment with respect to the protection of consumers, conduct investigations into matters related to consumer protection; ensure consumer interests receive due consideration, and provide redress to obnoxious practices; ensure service providers comply with local and international standards of safe service delivery’ Section 17(a), (e), (s) and (y),” it said.
According to Irukera, initial information gathered was sufficient for the Commission to open an active investigation into the cases and as such the Commission has issued Notices of Commencement of Investigation & Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons/entities concerned.
The executive vice chairman said the Commission is also communicating with the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), to expand engagement to the extent that any pertinent conduct may be otherwise unprofessional and, or may be subject of any disciplinary process (if applicable).
“The Commission invites information from the public that may assist in this investigation, including where same is not directly applicable to these incidents, but potentially relevant to a robust and more meaningful inquiry into the subject matter or similar/ancillary occurrences with respect to the parties identified in, or relevant to these investigations. The Commission requests that such information be sent electronically to the Commission’s website,” Irukera added.
Considering the sensitivity of these sad events, and in respect and deference to families/affected persons or reputation of both professionals and facilities, Irukera said the Commission advises candour and restraint in discussions and pronouncements about the occurrence and investigation.