Nigerian hospitals on treating gunshot and stabbed victims
Need for effective communication of laws?
Sir: It is one thing to make a law and another for it to be properly passed across a large country. Sometimes there can be a conflict of laws, which makes it very difficult for the citizens to either interpret or even know what and what not to obey. Nigeria as a democratic developing country takes its time in progressing. The issue of whether or not gunshot or stabbed victims should be treated by an individual, hospital or clinic before filling a police report is a problem Nigeria still faces. One could say that the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act which says that under no obligation should any individual, hospital or clinic administer any treatment to any bullet wounded person without reporting to the police first, conflicts with that of the National Health Acts which says the opposite.
With these two laws and also having in mind the doctors Hippocratic Oath, medical practitioners are indecisive on what exactly to do. On the other hand, the police simply believing that an innocent person can never be the victim of such circumstance(s), are just naïve. They still hold on to the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act even after the country’s present president, President Muhammadu Buhari passed out another bill – Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot, which is supposed to put to rest that of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act.
The new law was also set to compel all public or private hospitals in Nigeria to immediately render adequate treatment with or without a police clearance, of any person with a gunshot wound. This same law further explains that a hospital doesn’t need a deposit before accepting to treat a victim of such circumstance. This means that any hospital that fails to accept a victim of such, just because funds are not made available before treatment is erroneous. The law also gives the condition of filing a report with the police within two hours of commencement of treatment. It could be reasoned that the inability of the police to follow the current law is because the government system in which Nigeria runs still has not yet discovered an effective way of communicating laws to all police stations and of course the citizens of the country. It’s like how most Nigerians lack proper knowledge on their rights as citizens of the country, but in this case, it is the right to life.
Just recently, news was heard concerning a young lady, Moradeun Balogun who got stabbed in the neck by armed robbers on her way back from work in Lagos. It is said that she was rushed into a hospital and wasn’t attended to because there wasn’t any police report. Months back the death of a Channels news worker was reported.
Mr. Precious Owolabi was reported to have been shot on duty in Abuja. He was also rejected by the nearby hospitals which led to his death. Happenings like these could be very much avoided if only everyone is aware of the laws and has accepted their parts to be played.
On hearing the recent news that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has spoken of the issue and has made it clear that no police report is needed before a victim of such circumstance is saved. It is a good thing that more law enforcement agencies and both popular and unpopular personals are coming up front to speak on the very crucial matter, therefore, communicating the right law to be followed. Making the public aware of the law that was passed to address the situation is a huge step to defeating this issue. The attitude of Nigerians should also be worked upon. Nigerians should stop being ignorant and find time to know what is happening in the country too. Life is the most important thing, and the more time wasted to thoroughly defeat this issue, the more lives are lost.
Ntiwunka Enyioma .D.