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Couple Drags Oil Firm To Court Over Son’s Brain Damage

Two employees of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Emeka Okoli and wife, Stella have filed a N50 billion suit against the company at a Port-Harcourt High Court in Rivers State for alleged medical negligence concerning their son, Chinazam.

The suit marked PHC/2338/2021 was filed  August 30, 2021 by Prof Akin Ibidapo-Obe,  counsel to the claimants, Chinazam and his parents. It will come up for hearing before Justice Weli Chechey on December 8, 2021.

Chinazam, Emeka and Stella – 1st , 2nd and 3rd claimants respectively – are jointly and severally seeking N50 billion as general and exemplary damages “for personal injuries, loss and damages caused to the 1st claimant by the negligence and breach of the duty of the care of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants” and 1st claimant’s “consequent brain injury and subsequently the pain, mental agony and suffering of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd claimants and the two sisters Chinazam” among other issues listed for determination of the court.

Those sued alongside Shell as 2nd and 3rd defendants, are two of  its doctors, Dr. Alexander Dimoko and Dr. Dafe Akpoduado who performed an appendectomy surgery on Chinazam sometime in September, 2016.

In their 55-paragraph statement of claims, the claimants alleged serial acts of negligence by Shell Hospital in Port Harcourt which, the claimants alleged, began with the decision to operate without conducting necessary and appropriate scientific enquiries.

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The claimants also averred that a procedure that the doctors claimed would take 45 minutes extended to five hours at the end of which their son was wheeled out of the Intensive Critical Unit (ICU) of the hospital unconscious and suffering severe seizures.

They averred that whilst Shell doctors, 2nd and 3rd defendants, claimed the outcome was a result of drug reaction, qualified specialists in South Africa and United States confirmed hypoxia caused by lack of oxygen to the brain during surgery.

The claimants claimed that Dr. Dafe Akpoduado, the anaethetist allegedly wrongly administered spinal instead of general anaethesia, did not administer appropriate drugs in anticipation of the complications that ultimately caused Chinazam’s brain damage.

They added that Chinazam “now aged fifteen, is unable to perform independently any activity of daily living-walk, talk, eat, sit or ease himself.

“He is constantly drooling, suffers regular seizures and must be carried in and out of a wheelchair or bed. Since then, the Okoli family including two older sisters aged 17 and 19 years have had their lives disrupted and have suffered psychological trauma.

Shell management, they alleged, commissioned an external medical expert to review Chinazam’s botched operation but the report of the expert was kept secret from the claimants despite repeated demands.

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They averred that on the strength of the report of the external expert, the two doctors involved were sacked but that Shell allegedly refused to take responsibility for the negligence and to provide a Viable Life Care Plan for Chinazam even as they have allegedly rejected a Life Care Plan provided by reputable doctors in the United States.

Source: nation

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