INVESTIGATION: Patient suffers blindness, alleges medical negligence; Hospital debunks claims Source: Newsdiaryonline

The pathetic case of Charles Ogboli, a healthy and energetic man who suffered minor eye problems became blind due to a hospitals negligence.
According to the investigations carried out by Newsdiaryonline after delving into the controversial death in Abuja of Barrister Ernest Elaigwu, the newspaper was confronted with a fresh case said to have also happened at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Jabi, Abuja.

The report as published by Newsdiaryonline is as culled below:
“…there is evident war of words by lawyers of the patient and the FMC Abuja.
According documents sighted by Newsdiaryonline, Mr Charles Ogboli, a patient who received treatment at the FMC Abuja has threatened to sue the hospital for damages over alleged medical negligence.

Ogboli, in a letter and pre-action notice to the Federal Medical Centre signed by his lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, claimed that Dr Joseph Eziechila of the medical centre rendered him not only visually paralyzed but disabled due to acts of gross negligence, malpractice and professional misconduct.

He therefore threatened to sue for damages after one month from the date of this letter and that he can only be assuaged if the sum of #500,000,000 is paid him by the FMC and Dr Eziechila. The letter was dated October 26, 2021
The letter signed by Ugochukwu reads in part,”We act as SOLICITORS to Mr.Charles OGBOLI hereinafter called “Our Client” and write you as per his grievances hereunder.
“Our Client complains as follows:
“That on February 23 2021, he drove himself to Federal Medical Center Jabi and visited the VIP SECTION where he requested to see an Ophthalmologist because he has been experiencing eye floating.
“That Our Client was issued a patient card upon registration and payment of #15,000.
“That Our Client thereafter requested to run a comprehensive bodily medical test including Blood sugar test.
“That the test result amongst others showed Our Client has High sugar level and Blood Pressure.
“Our Client requested to see an Eye Specialist whereupon he was booked in to see Dr Joseph Chukwuma Eziechila who is also the Head of Clinical Services of FMC Jabi.
“That Dr Eziechila took Our Client to the Office of Dr Momoh, who has eye test equipment and examined Our Client’s eyes.He informed Our Client that he is suffering from Diabetic retinopathy-A complication of diabetes that affects the eyes especially blood tissue at the back of the eye.And suggested surgery and injections.
“That an endocrinologist was called by Dr Eziechila to come to his office to examine our client on his Diabetis history.
“That Our Client showed the endocrinologist his medical test result showing high blood sugar and told him his diabetis history and background.
“That the endocrinologist advised that our client should not do any surgery on his eyes as earlier suggested by Dr Eziechila until the high sugar level is stabilized and left.
“However Dr Eziechila insisted he will perform surgery in March 2021 by injecting Our Client with two doses of anti-VEGF into his eyes.
“That Our client returned in March 2021 and paid #450,000 for the dose of injection as suggested by Dr Eziechila inspite of the high blood sugar of Our Client.
“That Dr joseph called upon one Mr Sunny his assistant to run an eye pressure test which showed left eye 14″ and right eye 22” which was interpreted as high eye pressure.No repeat sugar level test was run by Dr Joseph that day but he still moved our client to the theartre inspite of the high eye presure and injected Our client with an anti-VEGF .Dr joseph then booked our client for second dose of the injection in April 2021.
“That in April 2021 our client returned for the second dose .He paid another #450,000 …..Again without running any sugar level test Dr Joseph took our client to the theartre and injected him the second dose of anti-VEGF.
“That three days after the second dose injection our client eyes became swollen with infection.Our client called Dr Joseph to complain of the adverse reaction who now requested our client should come back to the medical center for examination.
“Dr Joseph upon examination saw our clients eyes and saw it as severe . Right in his office not theartre he gave our client total of 9 dose of injections. That after the 9 dose of injections that Our Client’s right eye shut down and pupils could not dilate.Our Client could no longer see. When our client told Dr Joseph that his right eyes had shut down he told our client not to worry that the eyes will return to normal soonest. Our client then called for driver to drive him home as he could no longer see that day .
“That 5 days later our client still not seeing contrary to the assurance of DR Joseph returned… to the FMC to meet Dr Joseph.The Doctor called upon one Mr Sunny his Aide to dilate our client’s eyes but after the process our client’s right eye in question still did not dilate. Whereupon dr Joseph now gave our client dilating eye drops to use for 5 days.

“Our client’s eyes still never dilated after using the dilating eye drops as Dr joseph had prescribed.Whereupon our client returned to see Dr Joseph to complain that the eye never dilated as he assured. Dr Joseph then recommended dilating injection which he claimed works faster than eye drop. He then injected our client with the dilating injection and told our client to expect improvement and to see him again in 3 months time.

“Our client returned in 3 months to see Dr Joseph still complaining that he could not see and right eyes never dilated. Dr Joseph at this point told our client that our client chances of seeing is now 20% and that he could not proffer any further solution.

“Till date Our Client can no longer see nor go to court to practice his legal profession since over 7 months as he now (relies) on the help of his wife to fend for himself.In fact Our Client is not only visually paralysed as a result but now Disabled.”

According to the letter, Dr Eziechila acted and engaged in acts of gross negligence, malpractice and professional misconduct which caused “Our Client’s partial blindness”…

“Our Client by this letter notifies the FMC JABI of his intention to sue for damages after one month from the date of this letter and can only be assuaged if the sum of #500,000,000 is paid him by the FMC and Dr Eziechila as a result of the negligent act of Dr Eziechila and FMC which has visually incapacitated Our Client,” It stated.
FMC replies, debunks claims

Newsdiaryonline reports that Dr. Joseph Eziechila and the FMC responded through a letter signed by Barr. Ruth Amadi of the Legal Unit of the FMC, Abuja, wherein they countered the allegations by Mr Charles Ogboli.
The FMC noted that every care the patient, Mr Ogboli received in the hospital was in accordance with approved standard of practice, adding that the patient upon presentation already had a very poor vision in both eyes.
It stated,” Sequel to your letter dated 26th day of October,2021, we hereby respond as follows: “That on the 23rd of February 2021 Mr Charles Ogboli visited the VIP section of the hospital, where he laid a complaint of floaters and poor vision in his left eye. Thereafter was refered to the ophthalmology clinic to see an eye specialist.
“That the patient was brought to the ophthalmology clinic, where the equipment for eyes examinations are. After careful examination revealed that the patient was diabetic and hypertensive. Further enquiry also revealed that he was not seeing any physician for his medical condition.

“That upon presentation already had a very poor vision in both eyes. Patient was counselled on the line of management which included anti VEGF and photocoagulation. He admitted that he has received a dose (Patriza) at (another…) Hospital (in) Abuja and also said he had been advised to take Anti VEGF at (an..) Eye Hospital, Wuse but declined because of the exorbitant cost.
“That patient was seen by the Endocrinologist who then booked him for his clinic. He was subsequently reviewed by the Endocrinologist a month later, who started him on some treatments, requested for repeat of some of the investigations and also referred him to the Dietician. He was to see the Endocrinologist two weeks later with the results but he never did.

“That the Endocrinologist never advised him not to do any surgery on his eyes until the high sugar level is stabilized.
“That the first dose and second dose of Anti VEGF (Intravital injections) which the patient received on the 3rd of March, 2021 and a month after was not a surgical procedure neither is it a sub specialty procedure.

“That Intravital injection given to the patient by the ophthalmologist (Dr. Joseph) can be given by resident doctors and even ophthalmic nurses not necessarily a Retina specialist.

“That after the patient received the first dose of Anti VEGF, his vision improved from 6/60 to 6/36 on the right eye and hand movement at 3 meter on the left eye.
“That every care the patient received in the hospital is in accordance with approved standard of practice.

“In view of the aforementioned, the hospital gave the patient the best treatment possible and was not negligent as it complied with the global practices.
“Furthermore, while the hospital sympathizes with the plight of your client, there is no basis upon which the hospital can pay your client the claimed sum of (N500,000,000.00),” It stated.
Ogboli speaks
Newsdiaryonline when contacted the patient, Ogboli, he lamented that he has been incapacitated and now unable to care for his children.

He expressed his resolve to seek redress, “After this Christmas we will proceed to court. We are preparing the necessary writ of summon to join the Minister of health, the medical director, and himself (Dr Eziechila) as a party to the suit.
“No they have not called me, I am directly the victim. ..All I do is sleeping and (going) back to bed. I have been incapacitated, it is very difficult for me to take care of my children.”

Dr Joseph Eziechila declines further comment

Meanwhile, Dr. Eziechila when contacted by Newsdiaryonline, declined further comments on the issue because the hospital has responded to the letter from Ogboli’s lawyer.

“I don’t think I have to comment on that because they have already written through a lawyer to the hospital and the hospital has responded to them.
“So, they have also resorted to media house. They petitioned the hospital and the hospital responded , so, I don’t know what they want to achieve by going that way.
“We have responded to these allegations so, I don’t think that they have written back to the hospital,” he said.

However, it seems legal battle on the matter may soon ensue going by hints from Ogboli.

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