Stakeholders in the Nigerian health sector on Thursday hailed the Lagos State House of Assembly over its investigation into the case of ‘missing intestines’ involving late Adebola Akin-Bright.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, officials of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners (ANPNP), Lagos State Chapter and other medical practitioners spoke at a public hearing over the case which led to the death of Master Akin-Bright.
In attendance also were the parents of the late Master Akin-Bright and Dr. Abayomi Baiyewu of Obitoks Hospital where two initial surgeries were carried out on the boy before his referral to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
While commending the House and its ad-hoc committee, chaired by Hon. Noheem Adams, for what they described as diligent investigation, they also agreed that there were infractions from the surgery as earlier reported by the House.
It would be recalled that ANPNP had issued a statement saying the committee carried out its investigation without having a medical doctor in the panel. The body had also accused the lawmakers of engaging in a witch-hunt by reducing the investigations to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ session for Dr. Baiyewu.
However, a video documenting the investigation carried out by the committee which was watched by participants showed that Dr. Baiyewu was given enough time to defend himself.
In the video, he admitted to taking out three parts from Master Akin-Bright during surgery and agreed that the parts were ‘mistakenly discarded’ instead of taking them for histology.
It was also discovered from the video recording and evidence that Obitoks Hospital used only auxiliary nurses during the surgery.
Dr. Baiyewu also confirmed that the video played was a true reflection of what happened during the investigation.
Speaking after the video was played, Dr. Abayomi, who said the House carried out a thorough investigation, added that the Ministry of Health, through the Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) had temporarily suspended the operation of the theatre of Obitoks Hospital, which, he said, lacked standard medical procedures.
He said when Master Akin-Bright was brought to LASUTH, he was very unwell and needed to be stabilised before he would be operated upon.
He said that at the time of the surgery at LASUTH, the doctors found something unusual about the stomach, adding that a major part of the small intestine was discovered to be missing.
“They (LASUTH doctors) found a chaotic environment in the stomach. They found the upper part and the lower part of the digestive tracks open. It is very unusual to operate on a human being and find that he did not have small intestines. It is not logical.
“What we observed is that Dr. Baiyewu had two surgeries on the boy, the second one more detailed. He removed a certain part of Akin-Bright’s small intestine,” he added.
According to Prof. Abayomi, the most likely medical explanation could be that the private hospital “may have inadvertently injured the blood supply to the small intestine and when this happens, the organ would start to die and the body would start to absorb the organ.”
He said the findings by the State Ministry of Health had been forwarded to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for further investigation and sanction if needed.
“At LASUTH, we removed what was needed to be removed and sent it for histology. I admit that you carried out a detailed investigation,” he told the committee.
While commending the House, the NMA described the investigation as fantastic but urged that the MDCN be allowed investigate the case.
Dr. Kayode Akinlade, a former NMA chairman in Lagos, thanked the House for diligently probing the case adding that the private practitioners were only particular about public perceptions concerning their practice.
Another participant, Dr. Tunji Akintade, said the incident is a lesson for medical practitioners and the government.
“We need to have an adaptive referral system. What we have now is monologue. When we refer patients to a secondary facility, there should be feedback, a kind of communication,” he said.
In his remark, Hon. Adam, who serves as the Majority Leader of the House, thanked the participants and said the report of the public hearing would be presented to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, and the whole House for further action.