By Chioma Obinna

Lagos opens coroner’s inquest into popular chef’s death

THE Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, in Lagos State, Tuesday, disclosed that a coroner’s inquest has been opened to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of a popular chef, Mrs Peju Ugboma.

The deceased’s family had alleged that Ugboma died, due to negligence of health officials in Victoria Island, Lagos, where she had surgery for fibroid.

They also alleged that an independent autopsy done by pathologists at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, revealed that Peju suffered internal bleeding.

Following the reports on various social media platforms, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, was directed to order an investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of the late chef.

Also, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, said that it was collaborating with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, in the investigation to determine the extent of possible violation in the case.

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Giving an update on the inquiry into the circumstances of the unfortunate death of Mrs Ugboma, the Chairman, Committee on Medical Jurisprudence, Lagos NMA, Dr Olayinka Atilola said the Coroner Inquest met on Monday, the 21st of June, 2021 for preliminary briefing at Court 13, Samuel Ilori Court House, Ogba Lagos.

He said the NMA had expressed reservations on the public inquiry into the unfortunate incident of the death of Ugboma by the FCCPC.

Atilola said:” The law establishing the FCCPC more usefully envisage that FCCPC will explore, encourage, or collaborate with such existing judicial and medical regulatory framework in her commendable effort at protecting the rights of the healthcare consumer in the event of unfavourable outcomes or death rather than a needless venture into a parallel investigation.”

Besides, he said: “The Act provides that a postmortem medical examination and judicial inquiry be carried out by the Coroner, a judicial officer, when death is suspected to have, among other scenarios, occurred due to negligent acts in the course of or following medical intervention.

“A Coroner Inquest, though inquisitorial, is empowered to call witnesses, both expert and lay, and can make recommendations for further inquiry, prosecution, or even referral to the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.”

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