• Nana Ofori-Atta Oguntola

Dilemma of a Black Man Part 2

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Dr Titus Odedun
Dr Titus Odedun

Dilemma of a Black Man: Successful General Surgeon

As I learn more about the story of Dr. Titus Odedun, I become more convinced of the injustice meted out to him on the superficial premise of the colour of his skin.

There is a sense of disenfranchisement here. That situation where a black man is totally British whilst he is at the top of his profession and winning for the UK. The moment that very same black man has a misstep everyone is reminded that he is not actually British but foreign-born. The online headlines from the newspapers which covered his story all scream ‘Nigerian Born’.

Black Man's Dilemma

Titus Odedun served this nation with an unblemished career for almost thirty years. His patients and staff never had a negative word to say about him. He is one of the few surgeons who has never had a waiting list for surgery. And he led an Emergency Unit where ALL government guidelines were not only attained but bettered. In all that time of providing excellence he is British. Once they are able to blemish his career, he is no longer British.

The second thoughts I had in reference to this situation is how easy it is for one’s illustrious career to be destroyed by a few people within a short period of time.

Medicine, as we know, is not an easy career to get into. One does not wake up one morning and become a doctor. It requires several years of training, of studying, of good grades and several progressions through the medical practice itself from junior doctor, to senior doctor, to registrar and then to consultant. It takes years of hard work and discipline.

And yet in a moment all of these years of studying and training, and hard work and sacrifice can be wiped away by others and not on the basis of any truth.

Dr. Odedun ,following Ox-bridge A levels, including two Scholarship papers, started his Medical Training at the Old Royal University of Malta and came to complete his Medical Degree in UK via Cambridge and The Medical College of St Bartholomew’s, following well published Political Upheaval in Malta. After mandatory internship, he went on to complete the course and obtained fellowship of the two most prestigious Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Edinburgh and London within three years of qualification- itself a record at the time. These qualifications were gazetted in the website of both Colleges and publicly available for all to see. 

Yet the main argument for De-registering him is that he faked his qualifications. The primary duty for which the General Medical Council was set up is to vet qualifications of ALL doctors BEFORE registering them. The Medical Council checked his qualifications and not only registered him but issued his ANNUAL certificate tor almost FORTY YEARS before suddenly waking up one day to query its very own records on the basis of a malicious complaint by a firm of solicitors on behalf of an insurance company with monetary gain in mind.

How does that work?

That the qualifications that enabled him to serve the United Kingdom and the NHS for some years and kept him registered by the British Medical Council can now suddenly be rendered fake. It is either the Medical Council, like Rip Van Winkle, has been asleep on the job for thirty years or there is malevolent intent or both.

The other situation which gets my head in a spin over this situation is the refusal of the justice system in the UK to hear Dr. Odedun’s appeal. Judgement against Dr. Odedun was made in the first instance in his absence as he was convalescing from Ultra Major abdominal surgery that required a week of Intensive care and a month of Hospital admission. He has since tried to get his case re-opened and looked at again but this has been refused on two occasions on the flimsy excuse that after FOURTEEN days the appeal is *out of time* by act of parliament.

I cannot but ask why this is the case. This is surely unjust. Rapists and murderers get cases re-opened and yet a doctor of exemplary practice whose good name has been tarnished is denied a fair hearing. How is this right and just?

I have to come to the conclusion that as a black person the entire system is against you. People can deny this till they are blue in the face but it is not what is said that makes it so but rather what is done to make it so, everyday- insidiously, quietly, deliberately.

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