An eight-man disciplinary tribunal of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, chaired by Dr. J. C. Azubuike, has sent two medical doctors on three-month suspension for breaching professional ethics. They are Dr. Friday Wokoma and Theophilus Masha Dabkana. They were among the 11 doctors who were currently standing trial before the tribunal.
Wokoma, a Consultant Nephrologist/Head, the Renal and Haemodialysis Unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, was accused of negligence in the case of one Victor Afego.
Wokoma was found guilty of failing to attend to Afego throughout his admission in the hospital between November 29, 2009 and January 12, 2010.
However, Wokoma testified that the patient was admitted under the Cardiology Unit between November 29 and December 16, 2009 and was therefore not under his supervision.
But the Prosecution Counsel relied on Rule 29 (i) of the Code of Medical Ethics in Nigeria 2008 concerning patients on intravenous therapy, which states: “All patients on intravenous therapy, and particularly blood transfusion, should be within sight of qualified supervising clinician at all times…”
The tribunal held that although consultants could not be everywhere, there must be in place systems and procedures to ensure adequate supervision and monitoring of junior doctors.
The tribunal held that Wokoma and the three consultants reporting to him, were responsible for all patients, with no consultant owning a patient.
“In such a system, therefore, the buck must stop at the desk of the Head of Unit, Dr. Wokoma in this instance.
When all things are taken together, therefore, Dr. Wokoma cannot be exonerated because in his case, there has been abdication of responsibility and the charge of negligence has been proven,” it stated.