The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) welcomes the robust and detailed decision of the Coroner in the case of the Inquest into the death of Peju Ugboma who underwent a procedure at Premier Medical Centre (“Premier”), Victoria Island, Lagos.
The FCCPC opened an investigation upon the death of Mrs. Ugboma with the expectation that consumer protection issues associated with the duty and standard of care will be addressed. However, the full extent of that investigation only became possible under the auspices of the Lagos State Coroner during this Inquest.
The FCCPC team, led personally by the Executive Vice Chairman, Babatunde Irukera, joined as a party before the Inquest and participated fully.
The findings and conclusions of the Coroner are instructive, and validate why the FCCPC was concerned and investigated this occurrence. The Coroner’s conclusion that Premier failed to exercise due diligence prior to the procedure; and provided substandard or suboptimal care from a corporate responsibility standpoint underscore the importance and validity of the FCCPC’s role in this case and other medical cases, as well as infringed Right 11 of the FCCPC’s Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR) which iterates the right to quality care in accordance with prevailing standards and several relevant provisions of the FCCPA.
The same is the case with respect to the Coroner’s conclusion that Premier failed to exercise appropriate care and standards in patient care by making careless entries and poorly documenting case notes in monitoring the deceased, making prompt appropriate intervention problematic.
The conclusion that Premier failed in the duty of care it owed to the patient, including by an unwillingness to consider reassessments or further procedures where applicable and not having appropriate medical devices/equipment commensurate to the services or reasonable expectations associated with the services it was providing, possibly contributed to the unfortunate outcome in this case, underscores the role and need for strengthening patient care regulation, in addition to, and apart from individual practitioner professional regulation.
The FCCPC is grateful to Lagos State, the Coroner in this case, and other parties to the inquest such as Evercare Hospital for the commitment demonstrated through this process.
Although Mrs. Ugboma is gone, the Commission is again commiserating with her family for this loss, while thanking them for the demonstrated interest in improving healthcare outcomes for others, and allowing her passing to contribute to a legacy of improvement and better healthcare outcomes for Nigerians.