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Medical practitioners charged to uphold law, ethics in patients’ treatment

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Medical Practitioners have been urged to uphold the laws and ethics of the profession in providing appropriate treatment to patients so as to avoid litigation arising from wrong services causing damage to health.

The charge was made at the Annual Scientific Conference and Symposium of the Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (ARD LUTH) with the theme: “Medicine and Law: A Conflux of two Diversities.”

The President, ARD LUTH, Dr Kayode Makinde, said it was important to look at medical and legal issues within the healthcare ecosystem, especially the upsurge in the number of legal cases and events arising from wrong treatment to patients.

He said indeed, the Nigeria Bar Association has a thematic session, which focused on medical negligence recently, ignorance of the law is not tenable as it is the responsibility of all health professionals and doctors in particular, to be conversant with extant laws, rules and regulations.

Makinde said healthcare professionals need to know the necessary steps to take when confronted with medical and legal issues, adding that everything done is central to the advancement of the patients’ interest to achieve better result and operate at a better standard.

“Increasingly we are seeing a lot of issue within the health space that has to do with litigation, rather than see the law as a competitor or something we should be afraid of, we should see it as something that we should embrace, because the most important person within our space is the patient,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), LUTH, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, said every profession is guided by law, ethics and etiquette, which must be upheld, adding that healthcare workers should treat patients as they also have their rights to adequate healthcare service, which must be respected.

He said rather than the ancient oriented and centered care, healthcare professionals should focus on human centred care, which takes care of the patients, practitioners, environment and even the relatives of patients that come to the hospitals, in order to improve health outcomes.

Speaking on the sub-theme, “Physical burnout”, the Vice President, ARD LUTH, Dr. Judith Jolayemi, said while physicians give all it takes to their patients, careers and obligations, they often times neglect their physical, mental and social needs.

This, she said, causes physical burnout of the medical practitioners, which in turn affects the overall healthcare service delivery, thereby causing serious problems to the patients, who are at the receiving end, which leads to legal actions carried out against the doctors and hospitals.

“We work more and sleep less, worse still, we rather not get medical help when we come down with various illnesses even when we know we need it, some even die in the process. All of these are centred on our physical, mental and social welfare as medical practitioners in boosting our productivity and improving our overall quality of life,” she said.

She, however, urged physicians and Nigerians to take care of themselves, go for regular checkups, vacations, engage in regular exercise, take time to look out for themselves and families to prevent coming down with cardiovascular diseases.


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