- Kunle Emmanuel
- Posts: 2332
- Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:02 pm
- Location: Lagos
Ogungbo said that if the government reviewed the laws, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria would be firm in giving commensurate penalties to those who breached them.
He said that while it was important for patients to know their rights, specifically the recent Patients’ Bill of Rights, they and their relatives should explore all medical and legal consequences to bring erring practitioners and hospitals to book.
He said, “Patients must, as a right, be told the names and the dosage of their medications. Many have been prescribed the same drugs by different facilities and end up taking significant and harmful overdose. Do not hide the names of drugs from patients. Only poorly trained doctors and nurses will behave like this, thus demonstrating a high level of insecurity and dimness. Someone must see the light.
“Doctors need to demonstrate a stronger allegiance to their patients than to their hospitals. They should also show more interest in legal processes to penalise poor practice or compensate patients or families who have suffered consequently.
“We cannot improve quality of care without being part of a medico-legal prosecution system or at least develop a robust medico-legal culture in Nigeria. The current regulatory systems are not strong enough to deal with erring hospitals, especially the government-wned ones. The government will not sanction itself.”
Ogungbo, who is the public relations officer of the Guild of Medical Directors of Nigeria, conveyed these feelings in a statement entitled, ‘Poorly trained and insecure doctors’ and obtained by our correspondent.
He recalled how a hospital in Abia State refused to release medical reports, results of blood tests and the radiological tests done on a patient who requested to be transferred to another hospital.
Describing the doctors in such a hospital as dreadful, Ogungbo said the patient held all the aces in medical practice. “If patients don’t come, you (the doctor) are a goner,” he said.
Speaking on the negative attitude of some doctors to patients, he said, “This occurs more often in public hospitals. Some doctors will remove urinary catheters, cannulas (for intravenous infusions), bandages on wounds etc, from the patients before tossing them out. Many others will physically force patients out of the hospital bed as soon as they are discharged and refuse to re-admit the same patient should he return for whatever reason.
“A few hospitals have, in my experience, refused the use of their ambulances, to convey the patients to the nearest hospital or home, in a childish game of retribution. Some hospitals, doctors and nurses refuse to disclose the names of drugs or treatments to their patients for fear that the patient will know what they are taking and then go off to buy it outside the hospital.
“Some doctors also refuse to disclose details of operations performed, implants used or other critical details for whatever reason best known to them. The most important person and the reason hospitals exist is the patient. The man who ensures the bills are paid including the salaries of healthcare practitioners is the patient.
“Without the patient, the hospital might as well be a fancy elephant like a hospital in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The hospital did not have enough patients and financial resources to sustain the salaries of its expatriate workforce.
“Once you get that, you realise that the attitude and behavior of the practitioner is to ensure the well-being and longevity of the patient. Our job is to keep the patients alive and in good health, so they can come back again to see us and spend some more money.
“It’s just good business practice. Therefore, we cannot be nasty to the patients or perform acts that reduce their chances of survival, by not giving them the right information. Dead patients do not pay the bills!
“Doctors and hospitals cannot afford to alienate any patient, even those who choose to leave for another facility. You only reinforce their bad impression of your service and care by being petty and nasty. Your job is to be so good they miss you and regret leaving.
“Hospitals with good standard of care are transparent. Those who are opaque are often cheats and charlatans who are necessarily obtuse to cover up their inadequacies. A doctor or hospital worth its salt, will not interfere in the progressive care of the patient by hiding information.
“Results of blood tests, MRI and CT scans belong to the patient, not the hospital. The hospital did not pay for the tests and they were not performed free of charge. So, if the patient requests for the results, please do not make it impossible for them to obtain same. Hospitals can make copies for themselves, as necessary, for inclusion in the case files.”
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