No need to ask for police report, fees before treating patients in emergency, says NMA President
President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Ujah has reiterated that doctors do not need to see a police report or even think about fees before treating a patient during an emergency. Ujah said this on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels TV on Friday stating that the most important thing was for doctors to save the lives of patients brought in during an emergency. He said, “As doctors we don’t need police reports in emergency cases to treat patients.
What you need to do is to save the life of the patients.” The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari signed the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017 to prevent Nigerians from dying, especially from gunshot wounds. Professor Ujah also faulted law enforcement agencies for their lack of proper education, stating that they have no business asking victims of medical emergencies to provide police reports.
He said, “Unfortunately, the law enforcement agencies in this country have lost their bearing in terms of control, they have no business asking us to get police reports before we treat emergency situations. “The Nigeria police should be educated on the role of the medical doctor. A medical doctor doesn’t need any permission before he attends to any emergency.
We don’t even ask for fees.”
Reaffirming the need to save lives first before thinking of treatment costs, the NMA president said, “You must first get the patient alive before you would think about fees. Ujah, however, noted that doctors might not treat some patients immediately for fear of being labelled accomplices, especially in situations involving violent crimes. He said, “The reality on the ground is that when you do that you may be an accomplice; they may accuse you of hobnobbing or hiding, in cases of armed robbery and the rest.
“That creates fear and uncertainty and insecurity for the doctors and that’s why some doctors ask for police reports but by and large, there’s no law that says a doctor must seek a police report before he treats an emergency. “I think it is the overzealousness of the police that when you treat such cases, they might say you’re complicit. So obviously the doctor is not safe and needs to be protected.
“Doctors have been harassed, some of of them locked up; they have been killed in the process of saving lives because of the police.”