Damaged Testicles: Eleven-year-old pupil sues Abuja hospital for N100 million damages

An 11-year-old, Nelson George, has filed an N100 million suit against Limi Children’s Hospital Limited for alleged misdiagnosis and mistreatment leading to the damage of one of his testes.

Master Nelson, who instituted the suit through his father, Bankole George, also prayed Justice Akanbi Yusuf of the Kubwa Division of the FCT High Court to make an order directing the hospital to pay N5 million to him as the cost of filing the suit.

In the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/7356/2023 dated and filed on August 28 by his lawyer, Emmanuel Ekpenyong of Fred-Young & Evans LP, Nelson further prayed the court for an order directing the medical outfit to issue a letter of apology to him for the alleged misconduct.

The claimant joined the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Investigation Panel and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as second to fourth defendants.

The claimant equally urged the court to declare that the second to fourth defendants ought to be more proactive in ensuring that they perform their duties under their mandate as provided in the respective legislations establishing them to protect and promote his interests and well-being, including that of the public.

In his joint statement of claim, Master Nelson said he was 11 years old, presently “in Junior Secondary School 3 and lives under the parentship of Bankole George, who is his next friend and legal guardian.”

“Bankole George (‘Bankole’) is the biological father of the claimant. He is a Grade Level 18, Step 11 Director of Dangote Cement Plc. and a subscriber of the Platinum package of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS AXA MANSARD),” the statement said.

It said Master Nelson was one of the beneficiaries of Mr Bankole’s Health insurance scheme in Abuja. According to the statement, on January 30, 2023, Mr Bankole discovered that the claimant (Master Nelson) was having serious abdominal pains and his genital and scrotum were swollen.

“Bankole promptly rushed the claimant to the first defendant’s hospital, which is one of the hospitals listed in Bankole’s package of the NHIS for himself and his family members to which the claimant is one. After preliminary checks, the claimant was admitted at the first defendant’s hospital for treatment,” it said.

It explained that the hospital then conducted laboratory tests on Master Nelson, including a scan of his genitals.

“In the scan report, the Sonologist concluded that the claimant suffered from epididymo-orchitis/torsion. The claimant was admitted at the first defendant’s hospital for four days to undergo treatment for acute epidydymo-orchitis only without addressing the torsion in the scan report. He was discharged from the first defendant’s hospital on the evening of 2nd February 2023.

“Painfully, on the evening of 9th February 2023, at about 11:00 p.m., the claimant complained of discomfort in his genitals and the same abdominal pains. Bankole took the claimant back to the 1st defendant’s hospital on the morning of Friday, 10th February 2023. The claimant was again admitted and, this time, treated for malaria, sepsis and peptic ulcer disease with a series of tests conducted once more. The abdominal pains subsided and the claimant was discharged the second time on the evening of 11th February 2023,” it said.

It further said on February 13, Master Nelson again complained of excruciating abdominal pains and his genitals were swollen, and Mr Bankole was advised to take the claimant to another hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment.

“The claimant was taken to Nisa Premier Hospital Abuja (‘the Nisa Premier’),” it said.

After a preliminary examination and a scan which showed that Master Nelson had testicular torsion (‘TT’), a urologist and his team at Nisa Premier promptly carried out surgery on his scrotum.

The statement alleged that they later discovered that Limi Children’s Hospital Limited’s delay in discovering and promptly carrying out surgery on the claimant had led to complete damage to one of his testes. It said Limi Hospital denied any wrongdoing and maintained that their action was in line with standard medical protocol.

Besides, Limi Hospital’s counsel, on April 6, also wrote to Master Nelson’s lawyer, Mr Ekpenyong, and absolved the hospital from any wrongdoing or liability.

Master Nelson’s lawyer, therefore, petitioned the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. When Master Nelson’s affidavit got to the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ investigation panel, the panel said it had no jurisdiction over the subject matter.

Mr Ekpenyong, after that, petitioned the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, but the commission did not act on the complaint.

Master Nelson, therefore, averred that Limi Hospital owed him a duty as a patient to properly diagnose his medical condition to prevent a deterioration of his condition to the extent of losing one of his testes. The defendants had yet to respond to the originating processes served on them at the time of this report.

Mr Yusuf fixed December 20 for the hearing of the suit.