Benue Assembly urges prosecution of doctor who allegedly caused woman’s death


By Onyeje Abutu-Joel

Makurdi, March 19, 2024 (NAN) Benue House of Assembly, has called on the state’s Ministry of Health to sanction Dr Michael Ijiko, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Foundation Hospital, Makurdi, for allegedly causing the death of a woman.

Mrs Hembadoon Agashua, was alleged to have died at the hospital under suspicious circumstances.

The Lawmakers made the call via a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Saater Tiseer during plenary on Tuesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Tiseer informed the Lawmakers that Agashua, who was his constituent went to Foundation Hospital for medical treatment on Feb. 14, after complaining of fever.

He explained that she was admitted and was being infused intravenously while medical tests were carried out.

The lawmaker claimed that the woman showed signs of improvement on Feb. 15, when she sat on her bed and chatted freely with her visitors around 10:00 am.

Tiseer explained that the deceased husband said the nurses came for a ward round around 11:00 am and asked everyone except the patient to leave the ward which they did.

The lawmaker said however, that the deceased’s brother-in-law, who is also a medical doctor, came visiting her two hours after the ward round and discovered that she had died.

He further told the legislators that when the deceased’s relatives approached the hospital to inquire about the cause of death, the CMD informed them that he was a gynaecologist, so he did not have contact with the patient.

He said he had called a specialist from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi to attend to her.

Tiseer said the family was asked to come the following day to interface with Ijiko and the specialist, but that the duo never turned up for the meeting

“Ijiko’s younger brother, Dr Eche Ijiko who was around when the deceased family came also told them that he is a paediatrician, so he did not treat the dead patient.

“The specialist was contacted by the deceased family and he admitted being called by Ijiko to come and treat a patient, but he was told before he could come that the woman had died,’’ Tiseer explained.

He said they were shocked to know that Ijiko later documented that Agashua died of cardiac failure which the family found difficult to believe, since she was neither attended to by the doctors at Foundation Hospital nor the specialist from FMC.

“This was what informed the family’s suspicion that the deceased died of negligence and unprofessional conduct by Ijiko and his staff,’’ Tiseer said.

After contributions from members in favour of the motion, the Assembly unanimously condemned in strong terms the negligence and unprofessionalism exhibited by Ijiko and the management of Foundation Hospital which led to the avoidable death of Agashua.

The Legislators also urged the Ministry of Health to set standards for all private hospitals in Benue which would discourage unprofessionalism.

The Speaker, Mr Hyacinth Dajoh, advised medical practitioners to always place the safety of human lives above financial gains, which he said has become the norm in hospitals. (NAN)