Over 100 patients have filed a class action lawsuit against Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, after a man whom they trusted as an OB-GYN was busted for using a fake name, Social Security number and medical credentials.
For decades, “Dr. Akoda” — who is actually Oluwafemi Charles Igberase — lied about his identity and medical certifications in order for him to advance his career, reported The Washington Post.
In 2016, he was indicted by federal authorities on charges of fraud. He was removed from the Maryland hospital and eventually pleaded guilty to the charges. Igberase admitted to using four different Social Security numbers under three different names to apply for medical certifications, federal education loans for his children and his license to practice medicine.
Authorities also discovered Igberase forged his medical diploma, medical transcripts and letters of recommendation and was in possession of a false passport, visa, birth certificate and immigration documents.
Patients of Igberase found this news extremely troubling and feel the hospital should be held accountable.
“This makes me even scared to go to the hospital,” an anonymous former patient of Igberase told the Post. “He could have put my son’s life and my life in danger.”
Although they employed Igberase, the Prince George’s County hospital passed the blame to other agencies who vetted him.
“We are exploring many aspects of this case, researching records, and evaluating processes and procedures upon which we rely to validate information,” the Prince George’s Hospital Center said in a statement to the Post. “Several highly reliable agencies validated his credentials including the states in which he held medical licenses.”
Attorneys for the hospital are also claiming that, regardless of the name used, the man who practiced medicine was, in fact, licensed to do so in the state of Maryland.
However, the lawyer for the plaintiffs argued the hospital did not do its due diligence to ensure the man practicing was in fact certified. In 1992 and 1993, Igberase failed basic exams for the Foreign Medical Graduate Certification. Although he did receive them at some point, the certifications were revoked in 1995 because the committee discovered that he had used different names and dates of birth to apply for the credentials, according to the Post.
Despite the red flags on his record, the Prince George’s Hospital Center said Igberase was board-certified from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was named “Resident of the Year” in his final year at Howard University.
“We acknowledge the concerns expressed by some of his former patients,” the hospital told the Post. “However, it remains a fact that Dr. Akoda was a trained, licensed, and qualified obstetrician and gynecologist during the entire period he had privileges to practice at our facility.”
Despite the hospital’s claims, Jonathan Schochor, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, is arguing the shock associated with this case has scarred them.
“They’ve all said to us that they’re worried for themselves and they’re worried for their children,” Schochor told the Post. “Has he performed cesareans or surgeries that he shouldn’t have? Has he performed or not performed tests that he shouldn’t have?”
(Photo: SIphotography/Getty Images)