Emotions are running high as a worried single mom, Gift Danjuma, has accused St. Nicholas Hospital, a top-notch health centre in Lagos State, of medical negligence, stressing that her cervix was affected during an evacuation process.
She fears she will no longer be able to conceive as she battles health challenges. JULIANA FRANCIS follows the drama.
I applied to be surrogate because of my son — Danjuma
Miss Gift Danjuma is just 32 years old, yet she has gone through a lot in such short years on earth. No matter how hard she fought to stem the tears that were streaming down her cheeks, the tears simply refused to heed.
In a voice laced with emotion, she whispered: “Every day I live, I regret taking the decision to go for that surrogacy. I have spent more than what I was paid and now I can’t conceive. My menstruation flow is irregular and when it does come, it’s like going through hell because of the pains. I have gone to several hospitals, including Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and doctors said they cannot locate my cervix. I was told that I needed corrective surgery. I used to be a healthy woman until I went to St. Nicholas Hospital. They damaged me and refused to attend to me.”
Evans Ufeli of Chambers of Evans Ufeli, who has taken up the case of Danjuma pro-bono, alleged that the lady’s health troubles emanated from complications following a Caesarean Section carried out by Dr. Oluwole Ayodeji at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos Island.
Oluwole, however, swiftly denied that he or St. Nicholas Hospital was responsible for any health challenges currently being experienced by Danjuma. According to him, a lot of misinformation was affecting the lady, stressing that her present health situation had nothing to do with the CS or other procedures carried out on her at St. Nicholas Hospital.
Also, Senior EA to the MD, St. Nicholas Hospital, Folasade Paul, admitted that Danjuma was the hospital’s patient three years ago, but added that the lady was in sterling health condition when she was discharged.
Danjuma, a single mom, said it was financial challenges and the need to give her only son the best that prompted her to apply to Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency to be a surrogate. She revealed that her health had been hellish since the birth of the triplet for the intended parents.
She recalled that it was the intended parents that compelled Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency to instruct her to go to St. Nicholas Hospital to access the best medical attention. Danjuma remembered feeling that all was not well with her on the second day after the CS. She was in a lot of pain.
She said: “I complained to the nurses and doctors, I was given painkillers, but it didn’t work. I was supposed to be discharged on Saturday, but I told them that I couldn’t go home, not with the way I was feeling. They did a scan, which showed retained particles and enlarged liver. Evacuation of the retained particles was done via the cervix and the following day my condition became critical. In fact, I almost died and five doctors were on me. It was during that period that Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency came to fight them.”
Danjuma said that her health situation has been financially draining. Most times when she does not have money and when the pains start, she would resort to herbs.
She said: “Whenever I complained to Dr. Oluwole, he would shout at me, saying I was not using good hospitals or laboratories. I have been complaining for two years to this same St. Nicholas Hospital and to Dr. Oluwole. My health challenge has ended two of my relationships. I am presently engaged, but the relationship is shaky because my fiancé wants me to get pregnant before further commitment from him. But I have not been able to conceive.”
Ufeli, who said that he had written to both Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency and St. Nicholas Hospital, revealed that he has given them 14 days to ensure his client receives the best of medical attention or else they would have to meet him in court.
The lawyer, who also alleged medical negligence on the part of St. Nicholas Hospital, said to both parties: “Having carefully examined the matter under reference we hereby give you the next 14 working days to address the issue under reference in the best possible way and restore our client to the normal health condition she was before the CS was carried out on her, failing which we shall have no other option than to proceed against you in the court of law for redress. Take notice that this letter is hereby served on you as a Pre-action notice!”
We’re shocked St Nicholas refused patient corrective surgery — Lawyer
Remembering the genesis of the troubles as his client narrated to him, Ufeli said: “We were informed by our client and we verily believed her that she was a surrogate mother in Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency at Lekki Lagos State. She started the process with the agency on the 26th of December 2018 after being certified fit for the purpose by the Emobile Specialist Hospital-the aforementioned agency’s hospital-by Dr. Thaddeus Ogbueke. In view of the foregoing, in February 2019 the embryo was transferred into our client’s womb and she was confirmed pregnant two weeks after the transfer was made.
“Three months into the pregnancy our client’s surrogacy CEO Mrs Olaronke Thaddeus informed her that the Intended Parents (IP) wanted her to use St. Nicholas Hospital instead of the agency’s hospital which she agreed to. Our client went to St. Nicholas Hospital where she was registered and a hospital card was given to her while she was assigned to Dr. Oluwole Ayodeji as her Gynaecologist and she started ante-natal. Our client was scheduled to go to the hospital every two weeks to see Dr. Oluwole for regular checkups. The pregnancy got to a stage where our client was unable to sleep or breathe well because she was pregnant with triplets. She complained to Dr Oluwole and he asked her to come to the hospital for a checkup. Later that same day, she was admitted to St. Nicholas Hospital because the test they did showed early signs of labour so she was hospitalised for over two months.
“When the pregnancy was 30 weeks our client agency’s CEO told Dr Oluwole to do the CS because of the weight of the children and the health of our client, but Dr Oluwole declined and that resulted in a serious argument between our client’s agency and Dr Oluwole which the Clinical Director of St. Nicholas was informed of later that day. Dr Oluwole pleaded with our client to add an additional four weeks, because according to him, if the CS was done at 30 weeks, it would affect the mental health of the babies. Our client agreed in the interest of the babies. On the 4th of September 2019 Dr Oluwole carried out a CS on our client and after that, she had severe pain that continued for days. Our client was unable to reach Dr Oluwole all through until September 7th 2019 when she got through to him and made her complaints.
“Our client told him that the pain felt like an unfinished abortion or miscarriage but he said that was not possible, he was furious with our client for using such language. He asked our client to go for a scan. She went to do a scan and the result showed, ‘retain particles of blood in the uterus.’ Dr. Oluwole took our client back to the theatre on Sunday for evacuation. Our client bore this pain for days. On Monday 9th September 2019, our client almost lost her life right there at St Nicholas Hospital. Her blood pressure was high, her body temperature went high and she was catching a cold at the same time. There were about five doctors led by Dr Oluwole attending to her to stabilise her condition.”
Ufeli further narrated that Danjuma was eventually stabilised and was discharged from the hospital on September 11, 2019. However, when she got home, the pains started again. Her menstrual period stopped for about six months and when it started coming, it came with severe pains.
He added: “Our client has gone to several labs and hospitals in search of solutions to her health issues and each time she got to the lab or hospital she always put a call through to Dr Oluwole. A week after our client left St Nicholas Hospital, she started calling and complaining about her health condition to Dr Oluwole. Each time she calls, he would say that our client was not using a good laboratory that could effectively diagnose the problem. Ever since the CS was done our client has not been able to conceive and her period has been irregular and painful.”
The lawyer explained that three months ago, Danjuma went to a government hospital, where she was referred to a laboratory to run Hysterosalpingography test.
It was during the process of undertaking the HSG test that Danjuma was sent back to the General Hospital from the lab that her gynaecologist should insert a catheter into her because the radiologist could not get through to her cervix.
Danjuma returned to the General Hospital and three different doctors tried to catheterise her on three different occasions, but they could not get through to her cervix and they gave her a referral letter to LASUTH for further consultations.
Ufeli noted: “Due to the above-mentioned complications, our client called Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency and she was given an appointment. Our client got there and after a doctor examined her, he said he couldn’t get through to her cervix and that there might have been complications during the CS or during Dr Oluwole’s evacuation exercise. The doctor stated that our client must go back to the hospital where her CS was performed for corrective surgery to be performed because there was an error with the whole session at St Nicholas Hospital. We were verily informed that our client has repeatedly requested for her medical report, it is sad and disappointing to know that same has not been availed to her, despite the severe abdominal pain she’s currently shouldering. We are in shock and we find this rather intolerably that our client went through all these pains and is still in pain, and St. Nicholas Hospital could not take her through corrective surgery to save her from further pains and health complications. It’s inferable from our client’s ordeal and the findings of other doctors that there was a grievous and clear case of medical negligence from St. Nicholas Hospital which has resulted in the health complications currently being faced by our client.”
CS cannot cause cervix to disappear — Oluwole
Oluwole said that Danjuma was making false allegations because she was confusing the whole events that happened to her, stressing that it was normal and natural for her to experience pains after a CS procedure. He also maintained that Danjuma’s current situation could not be from the procedures he carried out on her at St. Nicholas. He insisted that three years was a long time to wait before coming forward to make a complaint.
He further said: “After the delivery, which was normal, which was about three years ago, she was discharged on the 10th, which was six days of admission. Usually, after CS and because of the multiple pregnancies that she had, she had a bit of fever and was given treatment. Usually, when someone is pregnant with a triplet, the tummy will be very large, so she was placed on a month of bed rest. After delivery, she was discharged on the sixth day. She was discharged without any problem, any complication. Only for her to call just some weeks back, three years after that she went for a test and doctors couldn’t find her cervix.
“She was trying to attribute it to the CS she did, but I told her that it was not possible. I told her that her cervix couldn’t just disappear because she had CS; it doesn’t work that way. We didn’t work on her cervix. I tried to educate her. Unfortunately, I don’t own St. Nicholas Hospital. I am just a consultant there. I told her that the management wouldn’t allow her to come there for consultation without payment. I think that angered her. When you work for someone, you can’t be dictating to them.
“What I suspect is wrong with her is a small issue. She needs an experienced gynaecologist to explain things to her. She went to the Clinical Director at St. Nicholas. She had her CS three years ago without complications, she can’t come now after three years to say she has complications. CS cannot cause the disappearance of the Cervix. I have not heard of it in my 29 years of practice.
“Be that as it may, St. Nicholas Hospital told her that if she wanted to have a laboratory tests, seek treatment or do a scan, she has to pay. She now got a lawyer to write to the hospital. But if the hospital is with her test result as she is saying, the hospital will give it to her. She should not be going about saying the hospital refused to give her the result. It is her result. It is her right.
“It was the intending parents that brought her to St. Nicholas Hospital. It’s quite unfortunate that she has been given a lot of misinformation. I don’t know the type of doctors she had been meeting, but for some women, the cervix can retract upward or sideways, so it depends on an experienced gynaecologist to examine her and locate it. I want to believe she has an infection, which closed her cervix a bit. But that’s not the issue now. The issue is that she had a CS at St. Nicholas Hospital and was discharged without complication and now returned three years later to claim she had complications following that CS.”
Patient was discharged in perfect health – St. Nicholas Hospital
The Senior EA to the MD, St. Nicholas Hospital, Folasade Paul, further stated: “I can confirm that Ms. Gift Danjuma was delivered of a multiple pregnancies at St. Nicholas Hospital on September 4th, 2019, which she had carried as a surrogate. I can also confirm that the delivery, which was carried out almost three years ago, was successful and that she was discharged on September 11th, 2019.
She was attended to in the most professional manner and given the very best medical care while on admission at St. Nicholas Hospital. Since her discharge, she has not presented at the hospital with any complaints – again we state it has been almost three years since the successful delivery.
“She presented herself at St. Nicholas recently on July 19th, 2022, with several complaints which were not present at the time of her discharge and by her own admission, she has sought treatment in other places, hospitals and medical laboratories, in the three years since her discharge, where possibly procedures that we are not privy to, and have no control over, may have been carried out. We can categorically state that Ms. Danjuma was discharged in perfect health in 2019, and we categorically deny any allegation of medical negligence as regards her treatment.”
Our reporter called Olaronke Thaddeus of Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency to hear the role the establishment played in Danjuma’s surrogacy issue and to confirm the story of her interaction with the agency. The woman did not pick up. Our reporter also sent WhatsApp messages and SMS, but Thaddeus did not reply.