It seems like a story straight out of a Hollywood flick, but it’s reality.
According to The Washington Post, a class action lawsuit against Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, claims that an obstetrician-gynecologist, who examined and treated patients, was practicing medicine while using false identities for decades.
The publication claims that a man who many women called “Dr. Akoda” was, in fact, an impostor. To their horror, the doctor had been examining them and delivering their babies for decades.
Oluwafemi Charles Igberase, the real man behind the “doctor,” reportedly used stolen Social Security numbers to advance his career.
The doctor was forbidden from practicing and then removed from the hospital in 2016. He was eventually charged and then pleaded guilty in November of that year to fraud.
According to officials, he used three different names to obtain medical certifications, license, and to apply for federal education loans for his children. According to one of the man’s former patients, the fact the hospital was so careless when they allowed Igberase to practice at their facility is terrifying.
“This makes me even scared to go to the hospital,” the anonymous patient said. “He could have put my son’s life and my life in danger.”
Federal officials learned that Igberase also relied on a forged medical diploma, letters of recommendation, and had also relied on a false visa and birth certificate while working in Maryland.
Despite the horrific lack of oversight, the hospital is now claiming that it is not to blame for putting the lives of countless women in danger over the years.
“Several highly reliable agencies validated his credentials including the states in which he held medical licenses,” the hospital said in a statement to The Washington Post.
But according to the attorney representing the several women who filed the lawsuit, Igberase had a long history of being rejected or denied licenses precisely for having failed basic exams.
In 1992 and 1993, he failed exams for the Foreign Medical Graduate Certification before finally being able to obtain them. But in 1995, the certifications were revoked after the committee had unveiled he had used different names and birth dates to apply.
He had also been kicked out of a residency program after they learned he had given them incorrect personal information.
“This is something where you’re dealing with lives, you’re dealing with babies, you’re dealing with personal areas,” one of the patients in the lawsuit told reporters. “I don’t know who is this man that touched me in a private area and delivered my child.”
This scary tale reminds us that we are never truly safe, not even in a hospital.
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