Possible Violation of Patient Rights Under The FCCPA and Extant Laws

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021 / 08:54  AM / by FCCPC/ Header Image Credit: Biomedcentral

 

Pursuant to Sections 17(a), (e), (h), (I), (Ss), (t), (y) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA)

 

Monday, May 10, 2021: Between Friday, May 7" and Sunday, May 9", the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (Commission) learned from multiple channels and sources about the sad and unfortunate deaths of Mrs. Peju Ugboma after a surgical/medical procedure at Premier Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos State; and Ms. Omolara Omoyajowo after receiving care at Beachland Specialist Hospital, Arepo, Ogun State.

 

With respect to Late Mrs. Ugboma, publicly available information suggests that she was admitted at Premier Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos State, on Thursday, April 22, 2021, to undergo what appeared to be an elective procedure on Friday, April 23, 2021. The information also imply that the procedure appeared to be uneventful, and the patient survived the operation.

 

However, subsequent to the procedure, complications may have arisen. Premier continued management, including intensive care. The patient invariably deteriorated. On Sunday, April 25", 2021, a decision was made to transfer the patient for further care and management to Evercare Hospital, Lekki Phase 1,Lagos. She was transferred accordingly. Mrs. Ugboma ultimately died in the afternoon of Sunday, April 25", 2021.

 

Similarly, available information seems to indicate that Late Ms. Omoyajowo was admitted at Beachland Specialist Hospital in Arepo, Ogun State on Wednesday May 5", 2021, where she was receiving medical attention. Her condition appeared to deteriorate, and the hospital decided that the patient needed to be transferred to a teaching hospital in Lagos State. She was thereafter transferred. Ms. Omayajowo was declared dead on arrival at the next facility on Thursday, May 6", 2021.

 

In both cases, relatives and friends allege mismanagement including failure of professional standards; as well as patient care/customer service standards including timely responses to requests.

 

The Commission in 2018, in collaboration with multiple healthcare professional associations led by the Nigerian Medical Association, and the Federal Ministry of Health promoted, created, and secured the adoption of the Patients' Bill of Rights (PBoR). The rights enshrined therein are provider obligations that otherwise exist in other enforceable instruments/codes governing healthcare delivery.

 

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).

 

The Commission does not investigate or evaluate conduct to determine professionalism, ethics or violation of professional/ethical codes. The Commission does not make determinations with respect to the professionalism or adopted procedures of qualified and authorized professionals. However, the Commission investigates and considers whether service providers sufficiently respect rights of consumers and applicable standards of care in compliance with those rights, including providing redress or remedies for injured consumers.

 

Initial information gathered is sufficient for the Commission to open an active investigation into these cases. As such, the Commission has today issued Notices of Commencement of Investigation & Summons to Produce (NCISP) to relevant persons/entities. 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: publicinquiry@fccpc.gov.ng.

 

Finally, considering the sensitivity of these sad events, and in respect and deference to families/affected persons or reputation of both professionals and  facilities, the Commission advises candor and restraint in discussions and pronouncements about the occurrence and investigation.

 

Babatunde Irukera

Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive


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