The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has suspended a medical practitioner, Dr Michael Owoicho-Odeh, for six months for malpractice and infamous conduct by enticing his patient a housewife, Ifeoma Orji.
The five-member Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal announced the sanction on Wednesday in Jos after the doctor’s trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Owoicho-Odeh pleaded not guilty. The patient’s husband had petitioned that the doctor engaged in an “indecent relationship” with his wife. The tribunal, chaired by Prof. Abba Waziri-Hassan, held that the doctor was found guilty on count one, when “between April 15 and October 25, 2014, or thereabout at ELROI Mission Hospital No. 22 Alhaji Baba Street, Jos Plateau State engaged in malpractice and enticed Orji during his medical practice”.
“By the said fact, Owoicho-Odeh conducted himself infamously in a professional respect, contrary to Rule 42.1 of the Code of Medical Ethics in Nigeria, 2008 Edition and punishable under section 16 (1) (a) and (2) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act CAP M8 LFN 2004 (as amended).
“On count two, he was found guilty when between April 15, 2014, to November 13, 2017, conducted himself infamously in a professional respect, when while in the full-time employment of University of Jos, engaged in private practice by owning and running a private medical practice known as ElROI Mission Hospital situated at No. 22 Alhaji Baba Street, Jos Plateau State.
“This is contrary to Rule 49.2 of the Code of Medical Ethics in Nigeria, 2008 Edition, and punishable under Section 16 (1) (a) and (2) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act CAP M8 LFN, 2004 as (amended).
“Consequently, this Tribunal hereby sentence the Respondent Doctor, Michael Owoicho-Odeh to 6 (six) months suspension on each of the two counts to run concurrently.”
NAN reports that the tribunal verdict was a fall out of a case between the Chairman, Medical and Dental Practitioners Investigation Panel and Owoicho-Odeh following a complaint lodged by Orji’s husband, Chief Maduabuchi, who had alleged that Owoicho-Odeh abused his position as a doctor to his family by engaging in an “indecent and financial relationship” with his wife.
It was on this premise that the matter was investigated by the investigation panel, which established a prima facie case against the Respondent- Doctor (Owoicho-Odeh) and accordingly, forwarded it to the tribunal for adjudication.
The prosecution had told the tribunal that Owoicho-Odeh committed the offences and should be punished for such professional misconduct The prosecution had relied on documents tendered in evidence by PW 1, Dr Enejo Abdu, in his evidence as follows: Affidavit of Maduabuchi Orji dated Aug. 11, 2016 (Exhibit 1), Affidavit of Dr Michael Owoicho-Odeh dated Oct. 18, 2016 (Exhibit 2), and the CTC of case Notes of ELROI Mission Hospital, Jos (Exhibit 3).Others are the Further and Better Affidavit of Maduabuchi Orji dated Dec. 21 2016 (Exhibit 4), 2nd further and better Affidavit of Maduabuchi Orji dated March 26, 2018 (Exhibit 5), First Information Report (Exhibit 6) and court process from Upper Area Court 1, Plateau State (Exhibit 7).The prosecution further argued that infamous conduct in medical ethics connotes conduct so “disreputable” and “morally reprehensible” as to bring the profession into disrepute if condoned.
But Owoicho-Odeh, in his counter-affidavit, denied ever knowing Mrs Orji and her children at Samantha and that he established his own medical practice under the name, ELROI Mission Hospital on April 15, 2014.According to him, his first contact with Orji was on Oct. 25, 2014 (six months after he had established his medical practice).He claimed that Orji was brought to his hospital by one Chukwuma Enweluani in a state of shock, following severe diarrhoea and a bout of throw-ups and was treated and discharged the following day.
The respondent further told the tribunal that Orji came to the hospital for follow-up on October 27, 2014, and November 2, 2014, with a persistent cough. He further said that she (Orji) later brought her husband (the complainant) to the hospital on November 17, 2014, and was treated for high blood pressure and diabetes and that after his treatment, he (complainant) requested treatment of his children, wards and staff periodically.
Owoicho-Odeh also claimed that the last time he treated Orji was on December 26, 2015, and thereafter “I never had any improper relationship with her and the relationship between us had always been a strict doctor/patient relationship.
“I had never, at any time, during the period I attended to Orji or after that, engaged in any inappropriate or immoral relationship with her.”(NAN)