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Doctor sacked for 'setting patient on fire' wins compensation over racial discrimination

Web Report/London
Filed on February 10, 2021
Alamy photo used for illustrative purpose

Surgeon wins Dh330,00 for unfair dismissal and racial abuse.

A British doctor, who was sacked for allegedly setting a patient on fire during a surgery, was awarded about Dh330,00 in a race and unfair dismissal claim.

Doctor Obi Iwuchukwu, who is originally from Nigeria and a breast specialist, was suspended after conducting an operation, according to a report in Mail Online.

The surgeon had used alcoholic antiseptic which ignited as he was using a heated surgical tool to sterilise the patient’s wounds during the medical procedure.

According to the report, an investigation panel found that Iwuchukwue was handed an alcohol, instead of an aqueous-based antiseptic solution which he had applied on the patient. During the surgery, he used a medical pen that generates electrically induced heat to stop wounds from bleeding. The heat ignited the alcohol and the patient suffered major burns.

The incident took place at a South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust hospital in August, 2013 after which Iwuchukwu, who was sacked from his job, fought a five-year legal battle with the hospital on the basis of racial discrimination and unfair dismissal. He eventually won the case.

During investigations, a Newcastle tribunal panel heard colleagues’ concerns about Iwuchukwu's performance and the number of complications his patients suffered after surgery.

It also heard an incident in which a colleague told him 'we are not operating out of a hut in Congo' to which Iwuchukwu replied that Britain was 'not like Nazi Germany’.

The failure by the hospital to conduct a fair and proper investigation into Iwuchkwu’s case was seen by the tribunal as racial discrimination and harassment.

The compensation, however, Iwuchukwu was expecting to receive was nowhere close to the £5 million compensation he had original demanded, according to the report.

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