Doctors map out measures to forestall litigations over management of patients’ ailments



In a bid to forestall litigations that may arise from the management of patients’ ailments, medical practitioners in Nigeria, have mapped out strategies to sensitise members.

Dr Ayokunmi Sowade, President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Meta chapter, made this known on Saturday in Lagos.

Sowade spoke on the sidelines of the first Scientific Conference of the association with the theme: “Health Practices and Medical Jurisprudence”.

She said that doctors had all concluded and agreed that it was better to stay in harmony with their patients than to resort to legal actions.

“In order to achieve this, doctors will ensure there is adequate communication in a language that their patients understand to avoid litigations against them,” Sowade said.

She said doctors had also made it a point of duty among members to “write down all discussions between them and their patients in black and white to ensure that they are free from legal action”.

Contributing, Dr Victor Fakunle, Vice President of ARD, said it was no longer news that there were many legal actions against doctors in Nigeria in the course of management of their patients.

Fakunle said that many patients were now aware of their rights, and often times, doctors found themselves in the court room answering questions about how they managed a patient.

He said that because of the numbers of litigations against many doctors nowadays, “we felt it’s time for us to sensitise them.”

According to him, this is to let them know what should be done for a patient, so that they won’t infringe on his rights in the course of caring for him.

“To avoid losing our hard earned licences in the course of trying to care for patients, we felt this is the time to bring up this kind of discussion to enlighten our doctors.

“This is to let them know how to manage a patient in order to prevent undue litigation,” he said.

Also, a Public Health Physician, Dr Deji Esan, said that there had been a lot of issues concerning healthcare, doctors, patients and generally, the whole public.

Esan said that theme of the conference was very important, because doctors had seen a lot of cases whereby the hospital was sued for act of negligence.

“This is why doctors should also be aware of the law and what they should do in trying to prevent legal actions.

“Also, the healthcare system in Nigeria is being over worked and doctors are humans.

“They also face the same challenges the society is facing: poor salaries, the economy and that is why we need an improved workforce in the country.

“Improved packages and salaries for doctors also; so they should be able to give their best, which makes the topic very apt,” he said.

Esan said that the topic was to help prevent legal actions in the health sector.

Edited by: Olagoke Olatoye


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