Parent of alleged brain-damaged girl seeks compensation

Nicole Adesanya

Nicole Adesanya

Parents of a five-year-old girl, Nicole Adesanya, whose brain was allegedly damaged during birth, has made a passionate appeal to government at all level for financial assistance.

Nicole’s father, Mr. Adebiyi Adesanya, also appealed to the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to obey the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) ruling asking the state to pay N10 billion as compensation for their daughter’s condition.

‎The ADR ruling was sequel to a suit filed by the family before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja in 2012, alleging that their five-year-old daughter suffered the permanent brain injury through the negligence of government’s medical officers.

Nicole’s father narrated that his wife, Mrs. Funmilola, was kept in labour for more than 24 hours at Somolu General Hospital and later at Island Maternity, waiting for the Caesarean Section (CS) operation, which made their daughter to suffer asphyxia. ‎

Adesanya said medical tests had indicated that Nicole’s condition was caused by birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen during birth). He added that the state government has denied them the right to life and fair justice.

Nicole’s father narrated that on getting to Island Maternity, one Dr. Adeyemo, declined attending to his wife in spite of the fact that she is an employee of Lagos State government and was armed with a referral letter from Somolu General Hospital. “The doctor was nagging and saying there was no bed space. My wife, who has spent 24 hours at Somolu General Hospital, was further delayed for about five hours on the grounds that two patients billed for CS were on ground before her. He explained that the aftermath of the delay in carrying out the CS has resulted in their daughter not being able to sit, turn, talk, walk or show signs of development inherent in normal children.

Counsel to the family, Mr. Austin Akpomreta, said Lagos State government and its judicial parastatals have failed to respect the rule of law by not fulfilling the promises they made at the ADR, where the high court referred the parties to for settlement. Akpomreta further explained that the state, which has agreed liability after various sitting at the mediation centre, are turning around now to say they are not culpable of the offence.

Respondents in the suit are: Lagos State government, the Health Service Commission, Commissioner for Health, and the Attorney General.

The claimants are seeking for N1.5 billion as compensation of Nicole’s permanent injury, which includes “physical and psychological harm, pain, suffering and disability”. They also sought for N8 billion as compensation for Nicole father’s loss of job in the course of attending to the young girl, medical expenses and life care expenses.

Listed to be part of life care expenses are medical expenses abroad, other connected expenses, special schools and teachers, equipment, nurses and life care coaches. Others are costs of subsequent surgical operations and periodic medical appointments (home and abroad) for the rest of Nicole’s life.

The suit, which was filed through their counsel, Mr. Don Akaegbu, on March 4, 2013, has Nicole and her father as the first and second claimants, respectively. Meanwhile, in its statement of defence, dated May 24, 2013, the state government denied the claimants’ allegations, insisting that it was not liable for damages for any injury.

The government’s statement read in part: “The defendants aver further that all the tests carried out so far on the first claimant (Nicole) could not conclusively establish a link between the alleged delay on the part of defendant’s medical team to perform CS and the medical condition the first claimant is exhibiting presently.”

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