An Anambra State High Court presided over by Justice Okuma has awarded a N500,000 cost against Eyi Enu Mission Hospital in Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State for unlawful “detention” of a dead baby and its parents.
The victims were detained for their inability to pay their hospital bills.
The court ruled that the act of hospitals locking up their patients from exiting their premises under the guise that they must complete payment amounted to false imprisonment.
The judgement was sequel to a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Ngozi Osegbo and Mr. Chinonso Osegbo against the Registered Trustees of the Synod of the Diocese on the Niger, owners of the hospital, in suit No: 0/255/2017.
The ruling made available to journalists in Awka on Friday stated that, “The plaintiffs had taken their 11-month 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 put themselves together and seek 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 per cent 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.