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Expert urges doctors to respect autonomy, sanctity of patients


Consultant General Surgeon at the University of Jos, Prof. Benjamin Ugwu, yesterday urged his colleagues in the medical profession to respect the autonomy and sanctity of their patients while treating them.

Ugwu also urged doctors not to allow age, creed, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliation, social standing, religious considerations or any other factor to interfere in their duty to their patients.

He stated this while speaking as guest lecturer at the 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) on the theme: New Physicians Oath And Its Role In Contemporary Medical Practice.


Referring to the new physicians’ declaration of the World Medical Association (WMA), christened “Universal Declaration of Geneva” in 1948, Ugwu admonished doctors to practice the profession with conscience and dignity in accordance with good medical practice, which respect secrets even after their patients have died.

He charged young and old doctors to let their patients feel a sense of human dignity even after they have been discharged from their hospitals.

He advised that while dealing with patients, doctors should avoid words of command and use words of encouragement, adding: “Use soft and harmless words throughout. Do not add unnecessary additional burden to the patients because they are already carrying a burden.”

Ugwu, who was former Vice Chancellor, Academics at the University of Jos, stressed the importance of communication skills for doctors in their dealings with patients to enable them become fulfilled so that they feel comfortable to want to see the doctors next time.

President of the ARD, Dr. Paul Agbo, noted that it was common to hear people say that doctors were not supposed to go on strike but rarely do they hear that doctors were not supposed to be owed.

His words: “You now have an anomalous situation where doctors are owed months of salary arrears but they are expected to provide service quietly without complaining.

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