Consumer Commission Investigates Alleged Patient Rights Violation Leading To Death

The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC) has opened a public hearing into the possible violations of patient/consumer rights under the FCCPA 2018 and extant laws in providing medical attention/urgent care, in the case involving Mrs. Peju Ugboma, who died after receiving medical care at Premier Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos.

On Monday, May 10, 2021, the Commission opened an investigation to determine whether any violation(s) of applicable consumer/patient protection standards under prevailing laws occurred.

The Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Babatunde Irukera said in a statement on Monday, June 14, 2021 that in furtherance of this investigation and pursuant to its mandate and powers under Sections 17(e), 18(4), 32 and 33 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA) has progressed the investigation to a public hearing.

Irukera said that this will take place starting at 10:00 A.M on Tuesday June 15th, 2021, at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference and Exhibition Centre, 10, Dr. Nurudeen Olowopopo Way, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

He said that in addition to operatives of the Commission, a broad based team (Panel) has been empaneled to more professionally, completely and transparently conduct the investigation.

In addition, the Rule of Law Office in the Presidency (Office of the Vice President), Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring & Accreditation Agency (HEFMAA), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the Commission are represented on the Panel.

He said: “Pursuant to Section 33(2) of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act, the hearings in this investigation will be conducted publicly and is open to the public. However, in compliance with prevailing public health and COVID-19 protocols, we invite and encourage non-core participating viewers to view and participate real time through live coverage provided at TVC News (DSTV Channel 418; GOTV Channel 45; and StarTimes Channel 307), and the following social media handles/platforms:

YouTube: FCCPC NigeriaInstagram: @fccpcnigeriaFacebook: FCCPC Nigeria

“Although the Commission welcomes contributory participation, the public is invited to understand and be guided that this hearing is not primarily a fault-finding inquiry; and is not a professional disciplinary process. It is entirely about consumer protection and addressing statutory obligations of service providers to consumers.”

Recall that on Thursday, April 22, 2021, Mrs. Peju Ugboma (Patient) was admitted at Premier Specialist Medical Center (Premier SMC), Victoria Island, Lagos. On Friday April 23, 2021 she underwent an elective surgical procedure. After the procedure, it appeared complications may have developed that caused her condition to deteriorate. Her clinical condition progressed downward from fair to unstable, and ultimately poor.

Premier SMC managed the Patient until Sunday April 25th, when Premier SMC made a decision to transfer her to a more robust multi-speciality facility for advanced critical and intensive care tools. The Patient was therefore referred and transported to Evercare Hospital, Lekki. The Patient passed away shortly after arrival at Evercare.

The family of the Patient have alleged that Premier SMC mismanaged her care. They allege among others that Premier SMC did not comply with applicable standards of care and sufficient sensitivity, responsiveness, as well as proper customer/consumer protection requirements under law.

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