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FCCPC probes alleged violations of patient rights to emergency medical intervention at Abuja hospital

Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of FCCPC

*The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission indicates the response, and course of actions of Mayfield Specialist Hospital, Abuja, in treating an injured power bike rider have become the subject of controversy and aggravation from a consumer protection standpoint with the regulatory Commission

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FRSC) has stated it is aware of an emerging situation associated with a fatal and unfortunate vehicular accident, approximately 1030hrs Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Abuja, FCT.

The Commission in a statement issued late Friday, July 7, 2023, disclosed the initial information suggested that, a collision between riders at the time operating motorbikes (one of which was a high capacity motorbike, otherwise referred to as a power bike), led to initial fatalities, and an injured rider.

It said: “The injured rider also ultimately became a fatality.

“Operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) properly responded and managed the accident scene.”

The FCCPC also noted the response included transporting the injured rider to Mayfield Specialist Hospital, Suncity Estate, Lokogoma.

“This healthcare facility was proximate and appropriate in the circumstance for emergency intervention, patient stabilisation, and or continuing treatment, including escalation or referral, as may be applicable or expedient.

“The response, and course of actions of Mayfield Specialist Hospital have become the subject of controversy and aggravation from a consumer protection standpoint, as well as complaint/engagement to, and with the Commission.

In pursuant to Sections 17(a), (e), (h), (i), (l), (s), (t), (y) of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA), the Commission said it gathered substantial information from public or open sources, friends and family, and other credible channels.”

The statement further said: “In furtherance of the information curated, and in recognition of the urgency and rapidly evolving circumstances, the Commission immediately opened an investigation, including executing a search of Mayfield Specialist Hospital facility Wednesday, July, 2023 between 1119hrs and 1713hrs pursuant to, and in compliance with Section 27(1) and (3) of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA).”

Objectives of Commission’s investigation

According to the Commission, the objectives of the investigation include:

Sufficiency (or failure[s], where applicable) of responses by any relevant stakeholder in the emergency situation that ensued from a consumer protection standpoint under FCCPA,

Preventing avoidable and undesirable outcomes in similar situations in the future.

Consequences, if and where applicable under the FCCPA.

Evidence so far procured provides sufficient basis (otherwise known as probable cause) to advance the inquiry to a broader, more detailed investigation with respect to consumer protection; and whether certain parties (particularly Mayfield Specialist Hospital) fulfilled required obligations of care to a consumer under the FCCPA.

Specifically, the Commission has obtained:

  1. Multiple pieces of information described, or considered medical records
  2. Identities of certain persons of interest
  3. Inventory of medications available at time of incident
  4. Payment records for services associated with the incident, and
  5. Relevant CCTV footage

The Commission’s investigation is limited to consumer protection.

Any facts sought or procured regarding the duty or standard of cared owed in any situation under inquiry is exclusively for the purpose of remedies for consumers, and or consequences for infringement(s) of the FCCPA.

The FCCPC as well clarified that the objective of the Commission’s investigation “expressly excludes any consideration or otherwise of the professional conduct of any licensed professional in the treatment or management value chain of the incident that is the subject of this investigation.”

The Management also stated: “The Commission is neither mandated, nor equipped to asses or resolve questions of ethical compliance to, or with any professional code, or what professional regulatory consequences are attributable to any violation of such code.

“In the event that any facts, or combination(s) thereof, emerge in the course of the investigation which fact(s) may implicate or raise questions of professional or ethical conduct or standards, the Commission’s relationships and mutual understandings with other, and applicable regulators such as the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) require disclosure and referral of the specific fact(s) to such regulators for their consideration and review with respect to enforcing the professional standards, code, or discipline where appropriate.”

It noted that multiple judicial pronouncements have now settled the jurisdiction, and scope of the Commission’s duties, as well as powers in investigating conduct with any consumer protection dimension.

“As such, the Commission invites, and advises persons relevant to the investigation to consider and recognise their obligations with respect to compliance, and in particular under Sections 17(a), (e), (h), (s), (y); 32; 33, especially (3), (4); 34; 36; 80; 104; 105; and 105 of the FCCPA.”

The regulatory Commission assured the general public of provide relevant updates on the incident.

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