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A tribunal set up by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has adjourned the hearing of the charges against three doctors accused of negligence.

The doctors, Iyoha Joseph, Obafemi Kuye and Oyewunmi Oladipo, were alleged to have administered unnecessary drugs to a three-month-old baby, Peace Oluwole.

The doctors were also accused of delaying necessary action which eventually led to the baby’s death.

The baby was admitted to the R. Jolad Hospital in Gbagada, Lagos State, in March 2013, where the three doctors work.

The doctors appeared before the tribunal headed by the chairman, Abba Hassan.

The medical and dental profession in Nigeria is regulated by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap 221 (now Cap M8) Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990 which set up the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria with mandates which include disciplining of errant professional.

The council is empowered to make rules for professional conduct and is also empowered to establish the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and Medical Practitioners Investigating Panel for the enforcement of these rules.

Charges

According to a prosecution counsel, “The case of the prosecution is that the deceased patient was not in a position to be discharged when he was discharged at first. Even when the baby was brought back to the hospital, the respondent doctors were negligent in the treatment.”

“We have two instances – the first time was when the baby was brought and then the baby was discharged when the baby ought not to have been discharged. The treatment and discharge was negligent. And when the baby was brought back and taken care of by the third respondent doctor, he was also negligent,” he said.

However, the defense counsel’s position is that the respondent doctors were not negligent and some of the medication was administered by an ENT doctor that is not one of them (respondent doctors). He also said they duly discharged the baby, sincerely believing their treatment to have taken good effect.

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They also said that when the baby was brought back, everything happened too quickly for them to have responded.

They also said the mother of the child did not compose herself enough to explain what was going on with the baby, and so they could not get enough information.

Mr Joseph was accused of discharging the baby prematurely on March 11, 2013, when he did not observe and document clear indications that the baby had recovered from illness.

He was also accused of claiming to be a specialist paediatrician when he did not have any additional qualification registered by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

Mr Kuye was accused of seeing the baby but failing to take adequate history of the baby or attending to him.

Mr Oladipo was accused of failing to take remedial measure to relieve the patient of obvious respiratory distress when he was re-presented at the hospital after being discharged earlier. He was also accused of delaying other procedures for more than 30 minutes which eventually contributed to the cause of death of the baby.

The three accused doctors pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge read against them.

Judgment has been suspended until the next session for which no date has been fixed.

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