Tuesday 22 September 2009

Nigeria: Surgeon in Stella Obasanjo Death Jailed

News from Spain

It was almost 4 years ago in my hotel room in Antwerp that I heard of a plane crash in Nigeria and as the pundits speculated and postulated about what might have happened additional sad news [1] came on air announcing the death of the wife of the President, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo.

What made the news a bit suspicious was that she died in Spain; that was quite unusual for a Nigerian seeking medical treatment to end up in Spain when Germany and the United Kingdom were the usual luxury health locations.

A quick Google search for Marbella and surgery turned up an interesting development, the dear lady was in Spain for cosmetic surgery which supposedly was to showcase herself as perfect for her 60th birthday in a few weeks.

The dangers are real

Cosmetic surgery however has its dangers [2], much as programmes as Dr. 90210 almost trivialise the procedures that people seem to walk in and out of the clinics as if they have gone for a facial and manicure, these procedures are intrusive and just as critically risky as serious medical operations.

One does sometimes wonder if there is enough duty of care, monitoring and professionalism in the cosmetic surgery business for beauty rather than serious medical need.

The case of Mrs. Obasanjo seems to have highlighted that issue where the surgeon has now been jailed [3] for carelessness and neglect, struck off three years and ordered to pay $176,000 to Mrs. Obasanjo’s son.

This however cannot be any consolation for the loss and worse still for what agony and excruciating pain she might have suffered as the surgeon failed to appreciate the urgency of her condition until it was too late.

Negligence in a foreign land

She had undergone a liposuction procedure which left the tube puncturing her colon and lacerating her liver, the doctor was not on call for hours as her state deteriorated and when finally he became available she was rushed to hospital in his car rather than in an ambulance.

It is likely that Mrs. Obasanjo might have visited Spain secretly for this procedure and therefore did not have at her beck and call all the due courtesies that might have accompanied such an important personality; being in a strange place with careless surgeons administering intrusive treatments must be scary enough for anyone.

In the end, the lessons are clear that seeking medical treatment abroad is not enough if proper attention is not paid to the quality of care expected for paying for such a service, that cosmetic surgery is no trivial matter that foreign doctors can expect to be nabbed by the long arms of the law where their professionalism is questionable.

The question remains whether that procedure is really necessary at all.


[1] Giving news a picture [akin.blog-city.com]

[2] Cosmetic surgery poses dangers [akin.blog-city.com]

[3] BBC NEWS | Europe | Doctor jailed for Obasanjo death

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