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29 months later, Coroner’s inquest blames parents, doctor for Oromoni’s death

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It’s been two years and five months after the death of a Lagos school boy, Sylvester Oromoni, following complications after he was allegedly bullied by his fellow students, but the Coroner, Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri inquiring into the cause of death of the late 12 year old student  returned a verdict that the deceased died a natural death.

His natural death wasn’t, however, without the negligence of his parents and the family doctor, going by the coroner’s report.

In November 2021, the death of young Oromoni has sparked reactions, following revelations that he was bullied and injected with a substance by some bullies in the school.

Allegations were also thrown around that frantic efforts were been made by owners of the high-brow school to compromise investigations.

But in a judgment that lasted over six hours, the coroner also held that the boy’s death which occurred on November 30, 2021, was avoidable as the negligence of the parents and the medical team also contributed to it.

He said the evidence gathered showed that the late Sylvester suffered “avoidable excruciating pain” due to parental and medical negligence, which led to his “needless” death.

Thirty-two witnesses in all testified in the coroner’s inquest which started sitting on January 15, 2022.

They included the parents of the late student, the management of Dowen College as well as some teachers, members of staff and some students alleged to have bullied the late student.

Others who testified were police officers who investigated the incident as well medical doctors and pathologists.

Among the evidence relied on were the findings of two autopsies conducted on the late student in Warri, Delta state and Lagos.

The autopsies revealed the cause of death to include septicemia which demanded urgent medical care but which was not given timeously.

The autopsy conducted on the deceased at the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta state, had only the family members present, and another conducted at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, had about ten pathologists representing various parties including the family, Lagos state government and Dowen College participated.

Reading from his notes, Magistrate Kadiri said, “Death was caused by Septicaemia (a life-threatening health condition caused by a patient’s body’s response to an infection), following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound.

“No evidence of blunt force trauma in this body. The findings in the oesophagus and stomach are not compatible with chemical intoxication. Death, in this case, is natural.

“Dr Sunday Soyemi, who led the Lagos procedure has stated in the autopsy report that sepsis, which led to the death of the boy, could have been treated with “massive doses of intravenous antibiotic, intravenous fluid and blood transfusion”, but which was never done.”

“From the evidence, Sylvester was said to have sustained an injury on his ankle between November 20 and 21, following first aid treatment, the school contacted his parents to come and pick him up for further treatment”.

“A guardian was sent to the school who took him for an X-ray, but no fracture was detected. But, he wasn’t taken to a hospital for care in Lagos until days later when he was moved to his base in warri, and treated at home by the family doctor, Henry Aghogho”.

The Coroner slammed the family doctor, Henry Aghogho for not providing the required duty of care for the patient whose home care treatment he said was “trivialized” despite early diagnosis.

“The doctor was found to have abandoned the deceased for more than 32 hours and didn’t carry out an X-ray and scan early enough which would have revealed his deteriorating condition”.

The coroner, who broke down in tears several times while reading his findings and even rose at a point to comport himself, said the case was touching but needed objectivity.

He exonerated the school of negligence and the five senior students accused of bullying the deceased and administering a poisonous substance on him.

“The alleged suspects played no part in Sylvester’s death, but were victims of their past misdeeds. They were falsely accused, no staff of Dowen College played any role in the death.

“The school has improved on their facilities since the incident. The claims of chemical intoxication was never proven, and the faces of those allegedly bullying the deceased weren’t seen. The alleged confession of Sylvester was denied by several witnesses. Even if he was beaten, it didn’t lead to his death.”

The Coroner also gave some recommendations to forestall further incidents of this sad nature. He advised parents not to take their children’s health with levity.

He also called for a synergy between the police, medical team going forward as well as for the police force to ensure due caution before arrests are made.

He further recommended that that management of Dowen College to ensure documentation of entry and exit of students out of the hostel, as well as proper psychological evaluation for the 5 students suspected to have bullied the deceased.

The late Oromoni Jnr reportedly died on November 30, 2021, at a private hospital in Warri, Delta State following health complications that allegedly occurred at his school, Dowen College, Lagos.

Following his death, the Lagos State Government set up a coroner’s inquest to investigate the circumstances of his death which began in January 2022.

● Additional report by Channels Television

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