Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Coroner Probes Medical Malpractice in Marbella

There are fears that the Nigerian First Lady, Mrs Stella Obasanjo, may have been a victim of medical malpractice as coroners investigating the possibility performed an autopsy yesterday on her body.
She died Sunday morning at Marbella Hospital in Malaga, Andalucia following complications arising from a cosmetic surgery she underwent to reduce fat from her body. Her remains accompanied by Nigeria's ambassador to Spain, Dr. Kingsley Ebenyi, however, arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at about 10. 30 pm. yesterday barely 24 hours after she died.

The autopsy lasted two-and-a-half hours and seems to have given clear information on the cause of death, said Antonio Garcia de Galvez, director of the Malaga Institute of Forensic Medicine, where the autopsy was carried out. Garcia de Galvez, in a telephone interview with the Associated Press declined to discuss the results of the autopsy, saying the data will be turned over to a judge investigating the case. He also would not say what kind of cosmetic procedure Stella underwent.

In Spain, autopsies can be requested by relatives or doctors. But they are court-ordered when the death is deemed to be of a suspicious nature - as in this case - or to have been caused by violence, Garcia de Galvez said. In Stella's case coroners are investigating the possibility of medical malpractice, he said. She was admitted practically brain-dead early Sunday to a hospital in Marbella after being rushed there from Molding Clinic, where she had the cosmetic surgery, Garcia de Galvez said.

Molding Clinic, located in Puerto Banus, a posh district of Marbella in Spain's Costa del Sol resort area, issued a statement yesterday saying it has provided judicial authorities with all the information they have requested and that the "fundamental causes" of her death have not been determined.

President Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have desired that his wife's body be brought back home immediately after the news of her death was broken to him. But that could not be achieved as the autopsy had not been done.

Obasanjo was said to have spoken to the Spanish King requesting that the autopsy be conducted without delay to enable her body to be brought home yesterday. The body arrived at the VIP wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja at about 10:30p.m yesterday and was received by the widower himself. The President stood on the dais as the body was being brought down.The coffin, which was drapped in the national flag, was carried down from the plane at 10:45 p.m by soldiers dressed in ceremonial uniforms, while solemn music was provided by the Nigerian Army as it was placed into a waiting ambulance.

Nigerians from all walks of life, including Vice President Atiku Abubakar and wife, Titi, Senate President Ken Nnamani, Governors Bukola Saraki, Olusegun Agagu and Sam Egwu, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Lt Gen Theophilious Danjuma and Rev Father Matthew Kukah, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and aides of the President, were on hand to receive the body.


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