By Katurak Yashim
The Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended 12 doctors and barred three from medical practice in Nigeria for professional misconduct.
After seven sessions held between 2019 and 2021 in which it adjudicated over cases filed against 37 doctors for various forms of professional misconduct, the tribunal found 20 doctors guilty of the charges leveled against them.
Delivering the ruling of the panel, the Chairman of the tribunal, Dr Abba Hassan, said that three of the doctors barred from practicing medicine have had their names erased from the medical register.
Hassan explained that the 12 doctors suspended from medical practice were suspended for a period ranging between three and six months.
“The COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria and the attendant disruptions impeded the frequency of the sittings of the tribunal. Despite this, the tribunal has held seven sessions within which it has adjudicated over 37 cases.
“As provided under Section 16 (1) (2) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap M8 LFN 2004 (as amended), the tribunal has found Dr Yakubu Hassan working at Koji-Jimeta Clinic and Maternity, Yola, guilty of professional misconduct.
“Dr Sunday Elusoji working at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Dr Stephen Oludare of Alaiyemola-Philadelphia Specialist Hospital, Lagos, are also found guilty of the charges.
“The registrar has been directed to erase these three names from the register of medical practitioners in Nigeria to wit. Elusoji has, however, appealed against the decision of the panel.
“If these doctors want to be re-instated, they need to apply to the tribunal. A letter will be sent to an institution where they will be assigned to work under supervision for a period of six months to one year,” he said.
Hassan stated that after the period of assignment, the institution where the doctor has been assigned must recommend the doctor for reinstatement with the assurance that they have improved in their performance.
He observed that nine out of the 12 doctors suspended have since served their suspension, adding that one appealed against the decision of the tribunal while one was currently serving out his suspension.
Hassan said that one of the doctors suspended died before the day that the judgment on his case was to be enforced.
“Dr Adolphus Oraifo-Oriaifo, who worked at Memorial Hospital Benin City, Edo state, passed on before the date of enforcement. He was to serve a six months suspension; may his soul rest in peace.
“Six of the doctors found guilty showed remorse over their actions and promised to work diligently and not repeat their actions and so the tribunal has admonished them and allowed them to continue their practice.”
According to Hassan, 10 doctors who had various cases of professional misconduct filed against them were discharged and acquitted.
“Seven of the cases were struck out. Three were struck out because the prosecution withdrew the charges; for two of the cases, the registrar of the council advised that they be treated administratively.
“The last two cases involving Dr Fabian Upuji and Dr Shirish Tanksale, the defendants died before the date of arraignment at the tribunal,” said the chairman.
The Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal holds the same status as a high court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Doctors found guilty by the tribunal and wish to contest the judgment can only do so at the Court of Appeal.