Has it become so easy for someone to impersonate a doctor for two months without going unnoticed? That is the sad reality of what happened at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Akwa-Ibom state.
A 25-year-old man, Usen Effiong, was recently arrested for posing as a medical doctor and consulting for the Teaching Hospital for more than two months. The State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Etim Dickson confirmed the arrest to Punch, adding that Effiong was caught based on intelligence report from the UUTH.
The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Akwa Ibom State branch, Dr. John Udobang denied ever knowing the man saying that he is not a member of the association. He told Punch that he received a call from the Dean of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, UUTH, Dr. Sunday Udo on the activities of Effiong. When he went to interview the suspect, he found him with stethoscope and sphygmomanometer (blood pressure apparatus).
“Udo told me that they caught someone who has not finished secondary school parading himself as a consultant in the teaching hospital as a medical doctor. We also found some prescriptions and forms that he wanted to fill to become a member of the association of resident doctors.
“Later, when they went to look for him, he was found in the doctor’s consulting room eating. He has confessed that he is not a doctor, and has not finished his school certificate, and has been coming there to consult in the last two months.”
When Punch asked how it was possible for an SS II dropout to be consulting in a teaching hospital, Udobang replied that people used to see him but did not know his intention.
“The Dean whose table he was sitting on used to see him and thought he was a medical student or a newly employed doctor that he has not known. It was after one of the younger doctors saw him and asked the Dean who he was that they started investigating him.”
For some people, the action of this young man can be described as criminal, whereas others see him as ambitious and say he should be given a chance to study medicine and prove himself. However, if an unqualified person can impersonate a medical doctor in a teaching hospital for as long as two months, then it sadly exposes the porousness of our medical institutions.