Do Some Doctors Truly Swore By Apollo, By Asclepius, By HygieiaAnchor, By Panacea And By The gods And goddesses?

By Isaac Asabor

“I swear by Apollo the Healer, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture.”

To anyone that is au fait with the nitty gritty of the ethics of the medical profession, the foregoing pledge is an extract of the Hippocratic oath that was written nearly 2500 years ago, and forms part of the most famous text in Western medicine. As an oath well-regarded to be taken byphysicians, it needs inductees into the medical professionto swear by the healing gods that they will uphold specific medical standards.

Without resort to denigrating any professional in the medical field in Nigeria, it is expedient to opine in this context that some medical practitioners see the oath as a sacrament of passage, while others cannot recall taking it, and some seemingly think it is immaterial.

In fact, all over the world, medical students typically take the Hippocratic Oath when they graduate and are bound to abide by its tenet.

At this juncture, not a few readers of this piece may have been pondering over the inspiration behind this piece. However, it is expedient to say that some untowardness that have in the recent times been happening in the profession are enough for people to be worried as services rendered by medical practitioners across the country have direct bearings on the overall health and lives of the people.

For instance, not a few Nigerians were some weeks ago traumatized to hear the case of a 12-year-old boy, AdebolaAkin-Bright whose intestines were reported to be missing at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja, to which the Lagos State Governor, Mr. BabajideSanwo-Olu announced that the state government would take over all the expenses for the operation to ensure the boy’s life was saved. But as fate would have it, the boy died.

Prior to his death, the management of LASUTH, came out to affirm that they did not willfully remove any organ or structure from Adebola’s body while performing the corrective surgery, and stressed that the hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and highly knowledgeable, skilled, and professional medical consultants who would never make such medical errors.

The statement reads; “Once again, the hospital management needs to clarify issues on the insinuations being made by a mother in a viral video that the alleged loss of her son’s intestines after surgery is a matter between a private hospital and LASUTH, saying that the hospital is an excellent tertiary institution with highly knowledgeable and skilled medical consultants.

“We are also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. The patient in question was referred to our hospital after having two surgeries carried out in a private hospital.”

The management also noted that besides the surgery being carried out by an experienced pediatric surgeon and supported by her team of professionals, video clips of the surgery were available for further clarification and avoidance of doubts.

“He required extensive optimization in our facility before a corrective surgery could be carried out. At the surgery, which was carried out by an experienced pediatric surgeon and her team certain strange findings were discovered. There is a video clip of these intraoperative findings. The mother was informed about these findings but she appeared to be in denial.

“The hospital is in possession of a comprehensive report of the findings by a high-powered panel that it quickly set up to look into all ramifications of this case.

“Clearly, our hospital carried out a corrective surgery and did not willfully remove any organ or structure. We empathize with the family of the patient. We believe that financial assistance from any quarters will be in order but we do not think that a blackmail of the state government via social media is the best approach.

“The hospital management is cooperating with the state agency which is already investigating this rather unfortunate case.”

Unfortunately, Adebola passed away on Tuesday evening. A source close to the family of the deceased told Journalists that he developed complications and was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of LASUTH where he was thereafter pronounced dead.

In a similar vein, the Plateau State Police Command, penultimate week, arrested a medical doctor. Mr. Noah Kekere, for alleged organ harvest carried out in his hospital in Jos, the state capital.

The command’s spokesperson, DSP Alfred Alabo told Journalists that the command arrested the doctor following complaints by the husband of the victim.

Alabo said the suspect, is in detention as investigation continues to determine his culpability with the view to charging him in court.

It was gathered that a businessman in Jos, Alhaji Kamal, had accused a medical doctor of harvesting one of his wife’s kidneys and subjecting the woman to chronic pain in the last five years.

He narrated that sometime in 2018, his wife, Kehindecomplained of stomach ache and she was rushed to the said doctor’s clinic in the Nasarawa Gwong area of Jos North local government area where he diagnosed the wife and concluded that she had appendicitis that had ruptured and needed urgent surgery.

Analysing the first case in this context from a consumer perspective, the doctor, Abayomi Baiyewu, from ObitoksHospital in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, who performed two surgeries on the late AdebolaAkin-Bright, has been revealed not to be a certified surgeon. The disclosure emerged from the House of Assembly ad hoc committee constituted to look into Adebola’s demise.

The committee’s chairman, Noheem Adams, officially disclosed Adebola’s passing during the plenary on Friday, September 22, and highlighted that Dr. Baiyewu had conducted the surgeries based on medical practice experience without proper surgical credentials.

He said: Baiyewu did not conduct any examination on the boy before the first surgery. He only relied on the report from the initial hospital he was taken to. And when Adebola complained of stomach pains, he was taken back to Obitoks Hospital where Baiyewu carried out another round of surgery by himself.”

Regarding the second case, the Plateau State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that Mr. Noah Kekere, who is currently being investigated for alleged organ harvesting, is not a Medical Doctor as he has been officially confirmed to be a quack, a fraud, and an impostor.

It was also reported that Kekere was recently arrested by the Plateau State Police Command for harvesting the kidney of a housewife without her consent during surgery at his clinic in Jos, Plateau State.

According to a statement signed by the State NMA chairman, Dr. Bapiga’an Williams, on Tuesday, “This is to inform the general public and all concerned that Mr. Noah Kekere, who is currently being investigated over allegations of organ harvesting is not a medical doctor.

“Diligent investigations by the association have revealed that he is a quack pretending to be a doctor.

“Further information will be made available following the conclusion of the investigative processes initiated by the NMA as well as the Nigerian Police respectively.

“The association wishes to call on all members and citizens to remain calm as the association is on top of the issue, and is assisting the police to get to the root of the matter.”

As if the atrocities were not nefarious enough, the Plateau State Police Command a few days ago arrested two other medical doctors in connection with the alleged harvesting of vital human organs by the suspected fake doctor, Noah Kekere.

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Alabo Alfred made the disclosure to Journalists on Tuesday in Jos, while he said that the suspects, alongside Kekere, were currently in Police custody and were being investigated.

At this juncture, it is expedient to confess that this writer is particularly worried that the Rivers State Police Command onTuesday, December 12, 2023, confirmed the arrest of a medical doctor identified as Dr. Happiness EnyinnayaIheukuemere, for allegedly killing a 20-year-old lactating mother and sold off her newborn in Igwuruta, IkwerreLocal Government Area of Rivers State.

The Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police Command SP Grace Iringe-Koko who confirmed the development to journalists in Port Harcourt, added that the suspect had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), for further investigation.

Conclusively, while Nigerians remained worried over therise in unlicensed doctors and clinics that have led to deaths and damaged healthcare sector of the economy, the question, “Do some doctors truly swore by Apollo, by Asclepius, by Hygeia, by Panacea and by the gods and goddesses?, need to be answered by the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).