Officer’s Wife Sues Navy Over Damaged Organs

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The wife of a senior Naval Officer Mrs. Joy Bassey alleged to have lost a pregnancy which later resulted in her suffering from vesico vaginal/fistula (VVF) due to the negligence of the gynaecologist, Naval Captain C.T Olowu, has filed an application before a Federal High Court in Lagos demanding for N50 million compensation judgement.

In an application filed before a federal high court in Lagos, southwest Nigeria by her counsel Ndueghe Iwatt, the plaintiff is urging the court to enter judgement in default of appearance and pleadings in her favour as the writ of summons and statement of claims were served on the Nigerian Navy and Commander C.T. Olowu, who was the then Captain medical of the Naval Hospital, but the defendant did not file any defence or show interest in the matter since they have no defence to the action for damages and their act of negligence that has caused the plaintiff permanent injuries.

According to statement of fact filed before the court it was alleged that the plaintiff, who is the wife of a Naval Officer, Poma Kingsley Bassey on 2 April 1999 went into labour and was rushed to the Nigerian Naval Medical Centre where she has been attending ante-natal clinic and was admitted.

Thereafter the Gynaecologist Navy Captain C.T. Olowu, the then Captain Medical of the hospital was contacted on phone by the nurse on duty. In response he directed the plaintiff’s husband to buy or donate a pint of blood before his arrival which the plaintiff’s husband did.

However it took Captain Olowu 8-9 hours to attend to the plaintiff. He instructed the nurse on duty to take care of the plaintiff’s treatment and went away and left her at the mercy of the nurse who could do little or nothing to handle the plaintiff’s precarious condition. Consequently, the plaintiff was abandoned till the following day and when Captain Olowu finally came he wrote a referral letter to the Nigerian Army Base Hospital, Yaba, Lagos where the plaintiff was taken to at the point of death.

The plaintiff was formally informed two months later by Dr. I.E. Nwakor that not only did she lose her baby but her womb and her bladder were badly damaged and she now suffers from Vesico Vaginal Fistula VVF due to the gross negligence of the defendants.

For over a period of two and half years, nothing was done by the Naval authorities towards remedying the plaintiff’s condition and her health was deteriorating daily. Therefore she was left with no other option than to seek legal redress to bring to the attention of the Naval authorities the unfortunate injustice meted out to her.

A medical board was subsequently set up, a test was conducted and the result from Ojo barracks laboratory and the medical report from the late Colonel I.E. Nwakor of Military Hospital, Ikoyi, proved to the board the recurrent bouts of urinary tract infection suffered for years. The costly drugs prescribed and the money spent was borne by the plaintiff.

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The plaintiff’s husband filed a divorce suit against her at the Lagos high court Ikeja ID/179HD/2003, Mr. Kingsley Bassey versus Mrs. Joy Bassey as a result of her predicament.

After series of correspondences from the plaintiff’s lawyer, she was recommended for overseas medical treatment after she was sent to Colonel Okafor in Nigerian Army Base Hospital, Yaba for a comprehensive medical report that was referred to the doctor in Assuta Hospital in Israel.

She was finally sent to Israel on 19 February 2004, but there was no comprehensive medical treatment for her. She went to the Nigerian Embassy to complain and the Nigerian Navy agent Mr. Rave Yaran who was forced by the embassy to pay for some of her test said no money was sent for her treatment.

The plaintiff on returning to Nigeria wrote a report of how she was treated by the Israeli agency and sentit to the Naval authorities and attached the medical report and recommendation from Dr. Kaline, head of Ob-Cyn Unit, Assuta Hospital. But the said report was ignored.

The plaintiff contended that her situation has caused the eventual breakdown of her marriage and she can no longer afford the cost of drugs.

Consequently, she filed this suit to which the defendants have failed to file a defence nor enter any appearance.

In view of all these, the plaintiff urged the court to enter judgement in her favour as per her claims endorsed on the writ of summons and statement of claim and for interest and cost as the court may deem fit.

—Akin Kuponiyi

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