Court awards N.5m cost against mission hospital for detaining baby’s corpse, parents - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, July 20, 2018

Court awards N.5m cost against mission hospital for detaining baby’s corpse, parents

An Anambra State High Court presided over by Justice Okuma has awarded a N500,000 cost against Eyi Enu Mission Hospital owned by the Anglican Church, Diocese on the Niger for unlawfully detaining the corpse of a child and its parents over their inability to pay their hospital bills.

The parents were said to have approached the court when the hospital allegedly seized the corpse of the child following pleas to go home and raise funds for the bill.

A judgement obtained by DAILY POST showed that the court in the matter with suit number: 0/255/2017 ruled that the act of hospitals locking up their patients from exiting their premises on the guise that they must complete payment amounted to forceful imprisonment

Parents of the deceased child, Mrs Ngozi Osegbo and Mr Chinonso Osegbo had dragged the Registered Trustees of the Synod of the Diocese on the Niger, owners of the hospital to court.

The ruling stated that “The plaintiffs had taken their 11 months old baby to Iyi Enu Mission Hospital for treatment, but he died while undergoing treatment”.

The Hospital was said to have locked up the plaintiffs and insisted that they would not be allowed to leave the hospital until payments were completed.

“The Hospital thus detained the plaintiff for more than 10 hours despite every plea to allow them to put themselves together and look for funds.”

“The plaintiffs had to approach the court for the following reliefs to wit:

”A declaration that the defendants owed the plaintiff’s child (Marvelous Osegbo) a duty of care, and they breached that duty which resulted in his death.

“A declaration that the action of the defendants’ security men in denying the plaintiffs exit from the hospital and threat of grievous bodily harm with gun amounted to false imprisonment.”

The claimants asked, “the court for general damages in the sum of N500,000 and 35% interest per annum (or prevailing CBN interest rate) of the judgment sum from date of judgment until final liquidation of the judgment debt.

Delivering the judgment, the court held that the plaintiffs had proved their case.
The court held that upon examination of the evidence of PW1 and PW2, it found that, “Their evidence in that respect which is consistent with their pleading and not contradictory was not challenged under cross-examination by the defendants and therefore accepted by same.

The court frowned at the manner upon which the hospital bill was recovered, adding that the detention of the plaintiffs for 10 hours resulted in false imprisonment.

It reads, “The act of the defendants in detaining the 1st plaintiff for 10 hours in the circumstance of this case no doubt constitutes acts of false imprisonment. I must deprecate the uncivil and indecent way and manner the defendants recovered the said hospital bill.

“It is not expected that the first defendant (hospital) particularly will engage itself in such uncivil and illegal means of debt recovery.

“Much as this court recognizes the fear in the disappearance of patients when it comes to payment of hospital bills or debts generally, I do not find it sufficient to justify illegality as two wrongs do not make a right,” the court stated.

The court, therefore, awarded the sum of N500, 000 against the Registered Trustees of the Synod of the Diocese on the Niger that owns Iyi Enu Mission Hospital together with 35% interest on the judgment sum until final liquidation of same.

(Daily Post Nigeria)

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