Coroner’s Law: A must for Medical Justice – Expert


A healthcare consultant has called for the passage of up to date Coroner’s law in Nigeria, in order to resolve the injustice meted out to medical personnel on allegation of medical negligence.
Dr. Femi Olugbile proposed this legislation while condemning the violent attack and harassment of healthcare providers by aggrieved patients and their relatives on assumption of medical malpractice or criminal negligence.
Olugbile also recommended that Lagos State has to update its own coroner’s law.
He regretted that in some instances health workers have been assaulted by patients and/or their relatives who take laws into their hands, instead of them reporting their grievances to the appropriate authorities.
“The practice of medicine, including alternative medicine in Nigeria is governed by Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8 of 2004,” Olugbile explained.
Professional discipline is enforced through the organs of an investigative panel and a disciplinary tribunal, he elaborated.
He pointed out that petitions against medical practitioners for professional wrongdoing are sent to the investigative panel.
He illustrated his claim by citing incidences that happened at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Lagos State University (LASUTH).  That of LUTH, he lamented, resulted in the death of a nurse when aggrieved relatives of a dead patient assaulted the staff on duty.
Olugbile enumerated the rights and responsibilities of patients, and urged them and their relatives to endeavour to know these rights.
“In the case of the death of a relative, a right to seek evidence of the cause of death through a post-mortem examination, especially if there is suspicion of medical negligence,” should be exercised by the relatives, the medical expert asserted.
He said the healthcare provider has to know his or her responsibilities to the patients and discharge them accordingly.
According to him, “medical malpractice may be functionally defined as the display by a medical practitioner of professional incompetence as judged through peer review mechanism”.
Olugbile said that arrest, illegal detention of medical practitioners should “stop immediately.”
The medical consultant recommended as solution, “a push for strengthening and enhancement of MDCN complaint-handling mechanism in order to meet the need of the public for a transparent, fair and rapid response to patients’ grievances.”


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