A Lagos State High Court has sentenced the Medical Director of Excel Medical Centre Dolphin Estate, Dr. Ejike Ferdinand Orji, to one year imprisonment for negligence and endangering the life of a 16-year-old patient.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye found the doctor guilty on 4 of the six counts for which he was charged.
In the charge filed by the State Government, Dr Orji was initially arraigned alongside his wife, Dr Ifeayinwa Grace Orji.
The defendants had, in July 2018, at their medical centre, acted in a negligent and reckless manner when they fixed a Plaster of Paris cast too tightly on the left leg of a minor, which caused him grievous harm.
The minor, a young Nigerian aspiring to play basketball in the United States of America, USA, had his career cut short by the incident which occurred when he came to Nigeria for a holiday.
In her judgment, the Judge discharged and acquitted Dr Mrs Orji following the State Director of Public Prosecution’s application which discontinued the case against her.
The Judge held, “It is my opinion that the defendant committed a breach of duty as a medical practitioner when he willfully refused to remove the fiberglass cast on the patient’s left leg despite complaint of severe pains that resulted in a compartment syndrome.”
The court held that the doctor applied a Plaster of Paris, POP, cast on the patient’s leg without carrying out an x-ray to identify the level of injury and using a none medical staff.
Justice Akintoye further said that Orji did not obtain the consent of the patient’s mother, who was present in the hospital at the time the POP was done.
“The prosecution has been able to establish essential ingredients of the offences of breach of duty and proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I find that the prosecution has established essential ingredient in courts 2, 3, 4, and 6,” it held.
The defendant’s lawyer, Ajibola Ariba, had in his plea of allocutus, urged the court to temper justice with mercy, noting that the defendant is a first offender who has never been convicted for any crime before and pleaded with the court to consider the option of a fine as the defendant that was born in 1958, was advanced in age.
After his plea, Justice Akintoye held, “I have listened to the plea for leniency on behalf of the defendant. Therefore, the defendant, Dr Ejike Ferdinand, is hereby convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment each, on count two, three, four, and six.”