Of recent, there have been complaints over the death of many people in public and private hospitals owing to unethical practices by medical workers.
Doctors and nurses have been accused of outright refusal to treat patients, especially those in critical conditions. Many of such deaths are never reported, and families of the deceased hardly seek redress.
Well, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), under the leadership of Babatunde Irukera, has declared war against unprofessional conducts and mismanagement of emergency cases in hospitals across Nigeria.
He said the FCCPC would do everything within its power to halt such practices in order to save the lives of patients, especially those in emergencies, as enshrined in the Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR) Act.
Irukera stated this in Lagos during a public inquiry on the possible violation of consumer/patients’ rights.
One of the examples given was that of Miss Moradeun Balogun, who died on Monday, December 2, 2019, as a result of alleged mismanagement and abuse of patients’ rights at a hospital. The late Balogun, who was allegedly attacked at Charly Boy Bus Stop, Gbagada, Lagos, was not attended to in line with the Patients’ Bill of Rights Act, which led to her death.
The father of the deceased, Mr. Balogun, who sought redress through the FCCPC, noted that: “The way and manner FCCPC is handling this matter is commendable. We believe the security men at the gate, the doctors and every other person concerned in my daughter’s untimely death must learn their lessons after FCCPC has concluded investigations.
“But I must state here that the lackadaisical attitude of medical practitioners is the cause of most deaths. Some who claim to be medical professionals lack the capacity and professionalism to practise.”
Following a two-day inquiry into the matter by FCCPC, Irukera said: “This is unprecedented and we are taking unprecedented steps to challenge it head-on. So many things are coming up from this incident, and I believe this has sent a quiver to every healthcare giver in the country as they are watching this case. This will help them to review their practices. For now, there are no final findings yet, but we must come up with a resolution.
“But one thing the Ministry of Health must do is to institutionalise certain accidents and trauma response procedure. I also believe healthcare consumers are better informed about their rights and responsibilities in relation to hospitals. Listening to medical doctors, we discovered that some of them work on conviction, but we must not let anyone who abuse patients’ rights to go scot-free.”
One of the witnesses that testified during the public enquiry, a professor and surgeon at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Suleman Olagiwa, regretted that most medical practitioners do not know the rudiments of managing emergency and trauma cases brought before them.
He stated that a healthcare giver must follow the procedure of managing emergency cases involving cuts as a result of gunshots, stabbing with sharp objects, especially within the upper region of the body.
He said: “A stands for airways, B, breathing, C, circulation, D, disability and drugs, while E stands for environmental factors. This must be done in a quick and careful manner to save the lives of victims of accidents. Unfortunately, most medical practitioners do not know this. But we are doing our best to educate them.”
But the founder of R-Jolad Hospital, Gbagada, Dr. Oladipo, said the case of the late Balogun was dire and couldn’t have been managed by his hospital. He said the deceased had lost a lot of much blood, and many vessels were damaged because the assailant stabbed her at the root of her neck.
“Our doctors examined her and referred her to a better facility. I felt insulted for someone asking me to produce all related cases since the establishment of our hospital 38 years ago. We have 25 consultants, 35 medical practitioners.
“As for attending to her on the floor, it’s not entirely true. But we have leant some lessons. We need more CCTV cameras to cover all nooks and crannies of our facilities,” he said.
He called for more security presence in the Charly Boy Bus Stop axis following incessant robberies in the area.
“It is also expedient to state here that the health sector, its regulatory bodies and other stakeholders need to sit up now and fill every loophole causing avoidable deaths. Efforts must be made by government to check quackery, unprofessional and unethical conducts and management of patients by medical practitioners,” he added.
Irukera said more would be done to bring sanity to the health sector: “We need to give top priority to health because our health is sine quo non for our wealth. The FCCPC, Federal Ministry of Health, industry watchers and the media should never leave any stone unturned to bring this desired reform in the health sector soonest.” He added that, “The monitoring and enforcement team in the health sector, from the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical Association, and Medicine and Dental Council of Nigeria should be men and women of tested integrity who can bark and bite any erring health care facility to enthrone professionalism, empathy, uttermost care and trust between the health care providers and consumers.”