The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, has petitioned the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Investigation Panel to investigate Dr Anu Adepoju of Med Contour after a patient died in LUTH following a botched cosmetic surgery performed by Dr Anu.
The management of LUTH accused Dr Anu of professional misconduct following the death of one Miss Nneka Onwuzuligbo, who developed complications after cosmetic surgery at Dr Anu’s facility before dying at LUTH, after which Dr Anu tried to extricate herself by blaming LUTH for her death.
In a petition dated June 11, 2020, and signed by LUTH’s Director of Legal Services, O. O. Olajide, the hospital said Dr Anu Adepoju had continued to perform surgeries despite the fact that her facility was sealed off by the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency.
LUTH said Nneka was brought to its hospital with severe respiratory distress and septicaemia with infected surgical wounds.
In an affidavit attached to the petition, LUTH alleged that Dr Anu Adepoju referred the late Nneka from her facility to LUTH on January 3, 2019, on the pretext that she was being referred from the General Hospital, Odan.
The affidavit read in part, “The patient was well until she developed a sudden onset of breathlessness within 24 hours after the said surgical procedure. The breathlessness was progressive and necessitated her being taken immediately to the General Hospital, Odan, from the theatre.
“There was no reference in the referral note from the General Hospital, Odan, about the details of the type of tumescent fluid that was administered, neither was the volume and the type of anaesthetic used provided. The breathlessness was said to be progressive. During the said two days, the patient received oxygen and intravenous fluids at Med Contour Hospital.
“The patient was referred to (LUTH) without an informative referral letter. The accompanying note from the General Hospital, Odan, stated that the patient developed orthopnoea 16 hours after the surgical procedure.
“The informative referral letter from Dr Adepoju, who performed the surgery, was provided on the fourth day of presentation at LUTH upon my insistence and persistent request. The said referral letter dated, January 7, 2019, is attached herewith and marked as ‘Exhibit A’.
“She was noted to have significant deterioration of the vital signs before referral to LUTH for intensive care management on account of progressively worsening symptoms.
“Details of the surgical intervention subsequently received from Dr Adepoju (Exhibit A) showed that she had liposuction of the anterior abdomen, back, flanks and arms with fat transfer to the buttocks and hips. The surgery was done under spinal anaesthesia. The tumescent technique was used where three litres of fluid were infused into the patient and five litres of fluid were aspirated. She had two pints of blood transfused before presentation on account of anaemia.
“The account given about the patient further had it that there was no previous history of similar presentation in past surgery of myomectomy done three years before the liposuction and fat grafting. It was revealed that on the second day after the surgery, she was noticed to have persistent foul-smelling discharge from all the surgical sites.”
The hospital added that upon admission into LUTH, the first surgical debridement performed on the deceased on January 10, 2019, revealed extensive sloughing, with foul-smelling discharge from Nneka’s debrided hips and purulent discharges from puncture wounds on the anterior abdominal wall.
It added that after the surgery, there was no improvement in the patient’s clinical state, hence the need to perform a second surgery on her, adding that after the second surgery, the clinical state of the victim improved till the 28th day of admission, when her vital signs deteriorated.
LUTH adds that the victim developed multiple organ failure of cardiac, respiratory (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and renal failures and had a cardiac arrest on the 31st day of admission, adding that after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was unsuccessful, the victim was certified dead around 9am on February 3, 2019.
LUTH added that after the death of Nneka, Dr Anu Adepoju blamed LUTH.
The affidavit further read: “Dr Adepoju has in a series of misleading and incorrect public statements in the social media absolved herself from liability in the management of this patient and put the blame on LUTH and its personnel, who availed the patient of their facilities and expertise. She directly impugned the competence of the hospital and her senior professional colleagues and teachers.
“Dr Adepoju further claimed in the video that the patient ‘walked to LUTH by herself’. This is false as the patient was brought to LUTH in an ambulance accompanied by her sister, Quincy Onwuzuligbo, in a state of severe respiratory distress.
“She (Adepoju) accused the medical team at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital of being responsible for the death of Miss Nneka Onwuzuligbo. She claimed this was due to wrongful positioning of the patient, stopping all antibiotics resulting in mortality. She stated in her video that liposuction and fat grafting is a new area of surgery and doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital are ignorant of post-operative management of the condition.
“Dr Adepoju instigated the relations of the patient and the public against the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and its doctors by saying that ‘the plastic surgeons and doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital should be asked about the death of Miss Onwuzuligbo Nneka’.”
LUTH also alleged that Dr Anu Adepoju obtained full registration as a medical practitioner on April 4, 2019, but she was already performing surgery on patients before that. The hospital said Dr Adepoju performed the surgery on the later Nneka Onwuzuligbo in December 2018, four months before she was fully registered as a medical practitioner.
LUTH further stated that Dr Anu claimed to be a cosmetic surgeon without undergoing a residency training programme or being registered by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, arraigned Dr Anu Adepoju before Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos, over her services which allegedly resulted in the death of Nneka.
Dr Anu has continued to insist that she’s a qualified cosmetic surgeon and has undergone the necessary training. She said she has performed over 300 successful surgeries and blamed patients’ complications on their failure to follow post-surgery care guideline that she gives because they think they know better.