The family of the late lawmaker, Temitope Olatoye (aka Sugar) has petitioned the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, for the alleged sharing of the deceased’s ‘horrific’ photographs on social media without its approval.
It is seeking N200 million damages.
In the petition by C. C. Amedu of Ikeh Sunday Chambers, Ibadan, the Olatoye 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 and the Ibadan chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Although the family acknowledged that doctors and other workers attending to the late Sugar declared in the presence of Sugar’s family that taking photographs of patients was prohibited, they were surprised to see such photographs circulating on online newspapers and social media hours later.
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.
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, which also mandates doctors to maintain respect for human life, avoid using their privileges as doctors to violate human rights, which also mandates them to practise the profession with conscience and dignity.
In spite of the ethics, the Olatoyes said it was disheartening that UCH staff allegedly allowed the taking, circulation and publication of the dehumanising photographs of the deceased, which have since been trending online.
The petition reads in part: “A cursory assessment of the attached photographs revealed that the deceased, as at the time the photographs were taken, was still at the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital in a pool of blood.
“Therefore, it is reasonable and unarguable to believe that only your staff could access the unit at the material time.
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“The above conduct of your staff suggested that instead of your personnel on duty to have acted in their full professional capacity, focusing on taking care of the deceased, which might have probably saved his life, they were busy taking his pictures, which perhaps for the purpose of selling same to social media operators as it can be seen trending online.”
“They posited that the trending online photographs have been serving as a painful reminder to Sugar’s gruesome murder, adding that they also subjected members of the family to “a lasting unimaginable depression, mental and psychological torture.”