The family of the late Hon. Temitope Olatoye Sugar have written a petition against the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, seeking N200 million damages for the sharing of the deceased’s ‘horrific’ photographs on social media without approval.
In the petition prepared by Barr. C. C. Amedu of Ikeh Sunday Chambers, Ibadan, copies of which were made available to journalists, Olatoye’s family accused the hospital of allowing the gory photographs of the late lawmaker in his dying hours at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital to be circulated on social media, thereby causing members of his family a lot of grief.
The petition was also sent to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and the Ibadan Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Though the family acknowledged that doctors and other members of staff attending to the late Sugar declared to themselves in the presence of Sugar’s family members that taking photographs of patients was prohibited, they were surprised to see such photographs circulating on online newspapers and social media hours later.
They posited that the trending online photographs have been serving as a painful reminder to Hon. Sugar’s gruesome murder.
The family added that they also subjected them to “a lasting unimaginable depression, mental and psychological torture.”
They insisted that the ICU of a hospital is a restricted area, hence only members of staff of the hospital had access to the dying Olatoye in the pool of his blood.
They demanded a written apology from the said members of staff which should be published in not least than three national newspapers.
Should the hospital fail to accede to the above request within seven days, the Olatoyes threatened to ‘commence an aggravated negligence action against the hospital in court.’
They reminded the UCH management of the Hippocratic oath, ethics and international best practices in the medical profession which protect the rights of a dying patient to die in peace and dignity and which also mandate medical practitioners to maintain utmost respect for human life, avoid using their privileges as medical practitioners to violate human rights and which also mandate them to practice the profession with conscience and dignity.
Describing the act as an unethical and brazen display of professional misconduct of the hospital’s staff, the Olatoyes also demanded the immediate recall of the published photographs from the public domain and punishment for the staff guilty of the offence.