Blind Lawyer To Sue LASUTH, Foundation For N100m


A 52-year old blind lawyer, Mr. Johnson Okiri, has vowed to sue the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Eye Bank and Eye Foundation, for N100 million over the loss of his right eye.

The lawyer was led to the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, by his wife, where he narrated his ordeal on how he lost his remaining right eye in the hands of doctors at LASUTH Eye Bank and Eye Foundation.

Okiri told P.M.NEWS that he lost his left eye when he was two years old to measles and that he had been seeing with his right eye and was able to complete his secondary and tertiary education where he studied Law with the aid of his right eye until it developed a problem.

He said he had earlier undergone cornea transplant in the United States of America when he was 13 years old and that he had been using the right eye until 2009, when it suffered partial impairment and was encouraged to go for another transplant, the second time, in Nigeria.

“Everything was well until 2009, when concerned friends informed me that my cornea was falling off and that it was imperative to go for another graft.

In October 2009, I was introduced to Dr. Mopelola Faderin of the General Hospital, Eye Bank, Ikeja. I booked an appointment with her and I explained that my eye was actually fixed in USA and I doubt if it can be fixed here in Nigeria,” he explained.

Okiri said Faderin referred him to another senior surgeon, whose name he gave as Dr. Oderinlo, a consultant with the Eye Foundation situated at Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja.

According to him, “Dr. Oderinlo advised me not to tamper with the eye. I went back to Dr. Faderin for feedback and she introduced me to her boss, an expert surgeon, Dr. Olubanji Oluyadi, who promised to do the transplant without any hitch.

“I went through a medical examination and an operation was carried out on the eye on 5 November, 2009,” the lawyer stated, adding that he was discharged from hospital but returned one month after to see the doctor in company of his wife when he observed that his eye was failing again.

Okiri said he went for another operation after Nigerians helped him pay for it and that he thought his predicament was over but lamented that it was for a short period.

According to him, Dr. Oluyadi assured him that another corneal transplant could be carried out, saying that he was able to raise the money through a kind-hearted Nigerian.

“After the operation, I kept going for check up at Dr. Oluyadi’s office at the Eye Foundation and the doctor kept telling me to continue taking my drugs after my complaint that the corneal sold to me from the foundation was not functioning. It failed often and completely packed up after three months and before then, I had already developed ulcer as confirmed to me from the General Hospital based on the effect of the drugs I was taking.

“I returned to Dr. Oluyadi again and he said I had to come for another operation and promised to prevent the eye from rejecting the corneal. I really didn’t know what to do, but my wife encouraged me to give him that benefit of doubt.

So, I went for the operation for the fourth time and the next day, the eye became swollen and watery. When I reported back to my doctor, he said it was based on the rejection of drugs applied. He said I overused the drugs, advising that I should allow the water to dry up and come for a check up,” he explained.

He said since then, he has been in total darkness, adding that the situation became more frustrating when it became difficult to see the doctor again, who seemed to be avoiding him.

When contacted on the allegations, Dr. Oluyadi, who is the Group Managing Director, Eye Foundation Hospitals, absolved himself of any culpability, saying that Okiri was responsible for his predicament.

According to him, Okiri failed to follow the instructions given to him and that he compounded his case through defaults at the clinic, adding that a total of 45 cornea transplants had been done on the Eye Bank of Nigeria programme, stressing that some developed graft rejection and Okiri was just one of the few with issues relating to graft rejection which has nothing to do with competence.

He stated that cornea was usually obtained from the United States and India which had a programme for obtaining it from dead people under a pre-death arrangement, adding that it was not possible to return the cornea removed from Okiri’s eye to him since it was not the custom, but that it was disposed.

Also responding, Dr. Faderin described Okiri’s situation as that of an ingrate. He explained that after the corneal graft was carried out on him, he was instructed by the physician not to allow the eye have contact with water.

She added that Okiri was a very difficult person who did not comply with hospital directives but did otherwise and returned barely one month after the operation.

“Okiri is not the only one that has gone through corneal graft, he injured the eye and all we did was to assist him to gain his sight again. Even if we try to carry out another operation on him, how are we sure that not much damage has been done on the cornea already?” she asked.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

Load more