The family of Lagos senior lawyer, Mrs. Ijeoma Oparanozie are blaming the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Evercare Hospital, Lekki, Lagos for the demise of the lawyer following a fatal car crash. She would have been 41 years today.

CITY LAWYER gathered that Ijeoma and her niece were fatally wounded when another vehicle somersaulted and hit their car last Sunday night around ELF in Lekki, Lagos. The deceased lawyer also had her six-year-old son and nanny in the car when the accident occurred.

The elder sister to the deceased, Mrs. Chinwe Chiazor told CITY LAWYER amid tears that first responders used crane to remove the deceased lawyer and other occupants from the accidented car and rushed Ijeoma and her niece to Evercare Hospital for treatment.

She however said that the hospital haggled over payment for hours and delayed treatment to both accident victims until the deceased lawyer was eventually referred to LASUTH by Evercare after she had bled profusely and remained without the crucial surgery for about 12 hours.

“The accident happened around 8 pm,” she said. “I would also have been in that car. That I’m alive today is God’s grace. Ijeoma was unconscious and was bleeding internally.”

According to her, “She was stabilized at Evercare Hospital. They sent for CTI scan and the result came out. They then told us that she needed to be moved into ICU for surgery. I deposited N300,000. They however insisted that we must pay N5 million each for Ijeoma and my niece, and that unless they receive the money, they would not commence the surgery.

“I noticed that my sister’s head was beginning to swell and they told me it was because of internal bleeding, that blood was being sucked into her head.

“I was crying; I was begging them to start the surgery. They asked, ‘What of the N2 million you said you and your husband will transfer?’ I told them that I can transfer N1 million to them immediately while my husband will transfer another N1 million first thing in the morning as he does not operate the banking App. This was around 12 midnight.

“Ijeoma’s company doctor, Dr. Nwogu came around 3 am and assured them that the company would take full responsibility and pay the bill immediately they resume work in the morning. They refused to do the surgery notwithstanding the guarantee given by their professional colleague and the company.

“As promised, the company transferred N10 million to Evercare in the morning. They now jerked the figure up to N30 million! They insisted on the N30 million, or they would do a referral. I do not know whether it was because they felt the company could pay more. They referred us to LASUTH.”

According to Mrs. Chiazor, her sister and niece were in very bad shape by this time. “Our nightmare did not end with the referral as Ijeoma was not attended to for four hours at LASUTH. They told us that there were no doctors on duty. They wanted to use a fibrator to resuscitate her but had to rely on CPR instead as they said they did not have the equipment. My sister was in the ambulance for over four hours without any medical attention. It was only the nurse from the ambulance company that was attending to her until she died. What will I tell her six-year-old son? She fought; she wanted to live for her son! My niece also died at Evercare! She could not be moved because we could not get a medical facility with a ventilator! They said she was brain dead.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that Ijeoma’s son survived the accident with an injury to his head.

When CITY LAWYER contacted Evercare Hospital via its verified telephone number, one Robertson directed our Correspondent to send an email to the hospital “on your letterheaded paper and our Legal Team will respond if necessary.”

LASUTH could not be reached for a response at the time of going to press.

The demise of the senior lawyer has thrown the legal community and especially the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch into mourning. Announcing her passing, the branch leadership wrote in a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER: “We, the Executive Committee of NBA Lagos Branch, with deep sadness, announce the passing of Chizoma Ijeoma Okoro on the 21st August 2023. Chizoma Ijeoma Okoro is an active member of our Branch. May God grant her family the fortitude to bear this loss.

“We will cease all birthday celebrations for today and tomorrow as today was supposed to be Ms. Chizoma Ijeoma Okoro’s birthday.

“Members of the Executive Committee of NBA Lagos Branch have reached out to her family.

“Burial arrangements will be announced when available, and her family consents to such announcement.”

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