Physician’s troubled past comes back to haunt him in Guam

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Guam – A physician’s troubled past has come back to haunt him and now he’s left defending his credibility.

A bitter divorce and custody battle, mixed with someone allegedly having it out for Dr. Ugochukwu Akoma is supposedly the reason allegations of sexual harassment have been drudged up from his past.

“It’s painful that I have to go through all of this because this has been ongoing for the last two years. I spent the last two years defending stupidity, literally. You know anybody can dig up anything. You won’t see anywhere where Dr. Akoma had a sexual relationship with a patient. You wont see anywhere where Dr. Akoma improperly touched a patient. But, oh, he complimented me on my clothing and I didn’t like it. Oh, he said I could be a model and I didn’t like it and somebody takes it wrong with them and now you have to answer them everywhere you go,” Dr. Akoma said an in interview with PNC.

Akoma admits that he is a very open person, sometimes blunt, even playful and sometimes too jovial. But he says the allegations against him were merely misconstrued.

“You could work in an establishment and you have 80 percent of the people that appreciate you for your openness, forthrightness, who appreciate you for your blunt talks when you do and for your jokes. You may have one or two people that just hate your guts and something and that ruins everything that you’ve done,” noted Dr. Akoma.

Dr. Akoma has been practicing medicine on Guam since 2017, but the complaints of sexual harassment date back to 2007, while he was a practicing physician in the U.S. mainland.

The complaints were filed with the medical boards in Iowa, Texas, California and Arkansas, all involving allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.

A statement of charges details the complaints in each state, first with the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Residency rogram in which it was alleged that Akoma made sexual advances toward two female co-workers between August 2007 and April 2008.

Similar allegations were reported while Akoma worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Chico, California between April 2014 and April 2015.

While practicing in Texas, documents state that Akoma’s clinical practice was held in abeyance pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct in November 2015.

“Texas took up the allegations. It resulted in a six-month investigation and they dismissed it because it was without merit. There was never any patient or any staff that reported me to any medical board, no charges were ever filed against me. I was never arrested or charged with any crime,” explained Dr. Akoma.

In Iowa it is alleged that Akoma made unwanted sexual comments and sexual advances towards female co-workers in 2013. He was also accused of violating appropriate examination procedures for female patients in 2013. But according to Akoma, he didn’t find out about the investigation until late last year when he just moved to Guam.

Having just gone through a divorce, he says he didn’t have the $60,000 needed to defend himself before the board so he entered into a settlement agreement knowing he never intends to return to the state.

The agreement cited Akoma for sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. He was required to pay a $5,000 penalty. The settlement also stipulated that if he ever return to Iowa to practice medicine he must be monitored and chaperoned by a board-approved female healthcare professional when treating female patients or children accompanied by a female.

According to Akoma, the complaints were a result of his ex-wife’s ploy to destroy his career. These allegations have once again surfaced but this time he says it is at the hands of someone who has it out for him.

“When I filed for divorce my wife now decided … was in high position to destroy my career so she chronicled everything I have ever told her from where i worked, added stories to them and filed with every medical board. At the time I only had active licenses in Texas and Iowa,” he noted.

Akoma is adamant that the Guam Board of Medical Examiners was fully aware when he began practicing on island with the IHP Medical Group and full time at Guam Regional Medical City. Akoma says the Guam Medical Board reviewed the complaint from IHP, Texas and Iowa and they ruled that he has not violated his trust as a physician.

But despite this Akoma shares that he was forced to leave IHP and a month later his contract with GRMC was terminated as a result of the past allegations.

Out of an abundance of caution the board has required a quarterly report over the next few months and that he take a course in boundaries.

Akoma recently opened a private practice called Hepzibah Family Clinic and has these words to share with the community.

“Hepzibah Family medical Clinic wasn’t an accident and my being in Guam isn’t an accident. Anybody can interpret it how they like. Maybe I was running away from my ex-wife, maybe I was running away from issues from the mainland but somehow I ended up in Guam of all places. It wasn’t an accident and nobody is going to run me out of town I am here to stay,” he said firmly.

 

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.