Monday’s commentary via the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) that considered one of its contributors, Uyi Iluobe, used to be murdered via family members of his affected person at a clinic in Oghara, Delta State is a major allegation. Iluobe’s dying, consistent with the NMA President, Uche Ojinma, as “response of the relatives to the loss of a patient from suspected gunshot injuries can never be justified and has taken violence against doctors and other healthcare workers from injuries to murder.” Ojinmah added that “It is unbelievable that in the face of a debilitating medical brain drain, the few doctors that patriotically decided to stay back and take care of our fellow citizens are being murdered by same Nigerians.”

I sign up for in commiserating with the circle of relatives of the deceased physician however speeding to the conclusion drawn via the NMA in this topic is maximum unlucky. Yesterday, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bright Edafe debunked insinuations that the physician used to be killed via family members of a affected person. “The rumour doing the rounds that he was murdered by the family of a patient who died in the hospital is false. There is no record of any patient’s death in the hospital,” consistent with Edafe who showed that the physician used to be certainly killed inside of his clinic premises.

I began from the premise that the NMA’s conclusion is unhelpful, however I additionally perceive the explanation why they did so. Attacks on medical doctors via households of sufferers who die are changing into prevalent in Nigeria. Last week in Kwara State, following the dying of a butcher via title Alhaji Saliu at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), his family members went berserk via attacking a scientific physician on responsibility. This brought on the clinic to clutch the corpse whilst the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) declared a five-day strike. The UITH company affairs supervisor, Mrs. Elizabeth Ajiboye, defined that the affected person used to be delivered to the clinic with serious headaches and the medical doctors on responsibility did all they may to avoid wasting him with out good fortune. “Three of the patient’s relations pounced on one of the doctors on duty, pinned him to the wall, and punched him severally but he managed to escape from them,” defined Ajiboye who justified the seizure of the corpse via the clinic. It took the intervention of senior electorate ahead of the corpse used to be ultimately launched for burial, even supposing the control insists on prosecuting the violent members of the family.

Last month, an offended guy and his son attacked a scientific physician and a nurse at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta. The tag staff of pop and son reportedly rained heavy blows on the physician in a while when they had been knowledgeable of the dying of a 53-year-old lady at the emergency ward. Ogun State NMA chairman, Kunle Ashimi, who condemned the incident mentioned the lady had a major center situation. “She was at the end stage of heart failure. This was explained to the relatives when she was brought to the facility but, notwithstanding, we also believe in miracles, and we feel that we should do our best to see what can happen.” Apparently as a result of a miracle did not occur, “the husband and son of the deceased descended on the doctor that had been taking care of the patient when the news of her death was announced,” consistent with Ashimi.

That those attacks on medical doctors have long gone on for goodbye with little consideration paid via related government is aggravating. At the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan 3 years in the past, members of the family of a septuagenarian attacked a physician and nurses on responsibility over the dying in their affected person, ahead of they had been arrested via the police. “The relatives of one Usman Zubair, a 74-year-old man, who was receiving treatment in the hospital, went wild and attacked the medical personnel when they learnt of his death. The deceased had secondary Grade A diabetes, and his ankle was amputated to enable him to live a normal life, but he later gave up” defined the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Olugbenga Fadeyi. “The family of the deceased came around, became unruly, mobilised other miscreants to assault Dr Adeleke Adedapo and some of the nurses on duty and also vandalised chairs and tables in the hospital ward.”

Meanwhile, assaults on medical doctors via households of deceased sufferers is a world problem however it’s extra prevalent in some international locations than others. In a tale titled ‘The circle of relatives will kill you if the affected person dies: the medical doctors dealing with assault in Iraq’s hospitals’ printed on ninth August this 12 months via The Guardian of London, it used to be reported that “In Baghdad 87% of doctors say they have experienced violence at work, some involving guns, and most at the hands of patients’ relatives.” A May 2016 New York Times record, ‘A Danger for Doctors in China: Patients’ Angry Relatives’ highlights the similar downside.

Interestingly, India, the place maximum Nigerians search scientific answer, is famend for assaults on medical doctors via family members of sufferers who die In an internet petition initiated via Dr Sumit Periwal to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi already signed via 1455,298 individuals once I closing checked on Tuesday morning, he shared a number of accounts of ways scientific medical doctors had been assaulted via members of the family of sufferers in India. “We, Doctors, are responsible for this situation. When the media discredited us, we did not speak. When politicians and local goondas barged into hospitals and caught our collars, we did not speak. When mobs threatened us, we did not speak. When hospitals and ICUs were vandalised, we did not speak,” Periwal wrote. “But we must speak now. The list of assaults on doctors is endless. A chronicle of so many assaults on doctors across India is given below. And so many more go unreported.”

One of the dozens of circumstances indexed via Periwal happened on tenth June 2019, when a physician used to be subjected to “brutal assault by a mob of 200 who were brought in two lorries on the death of a 90-year-old patient at NRS Medical College, Kolkata.” Another took place on thirtieth July 2020 when “a doctor of a superspeciality hospital was repeatedly stabbed and attacked by the son of a COVID patient who passed away in the hospital.” And on twenty third April 2021, “20 Policemen assaulted a doctor with rods for not getting bed in Allahabad Medical College, amid corona crisis when there is lack of beds, medicines, and oxygen.”

Dr Raghury Hedge, specialist in ophthalmic cosmetic surgery & ophthalmic oncology, shared the harrowing enjoy of his father, additionally a scientific practitioner who used to be just about killed for what used to be not more than an act of kindness, blaming the downside on the society. “The inability of the society to acknowledge altruism of the doctors will be the reason to discourage the next generation of brilliant students from taking up this unforgiving profession.” He then posed some questions: “What is the law of the land doing to prevent these Kangaroo courts from passing judgment on doctors? Who will take care of the damage to life, property, and reputation that a doctor must suffer? When will the media, politicians and the community wake up? Who will highlight this ugly barbaric side of healthcare in India?”

We will have to pose the similar questions in our nation. Besides, given unfounded insinuations that the killing of Dr Iluobe used to be as a result of he rejected a gunshot sufferer, that has raised some pertinent problems. Going via provisions of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017, well being employees are mandated to regard gunshot sufferers. But there are two issues. Section 3, subsection considered one of the Act specifies that “A hospital that receives or accepts any person with a gunshot wound shall report the fact to the nearest police station within two hours of commencement of treatment.” In circumstances the place such sufferers are cult contributors, well being employees are conscious about the risk of reporting to the police as required via regulation. For that reason why, many medical doctors and hospitals would fairly err on the facet of warning via rejecting a gunshot wound affected person fairly than admit and compromise their protection.

There is any other downside related to the Act. My pal and scientific practitioner, Henry Ewunonu has all the time argued that the sections which criminalise refusal to regard sufferers don’t think about the fact that almost all clinics lack the capability for dealing with those accidents and that any extend in the title of offering first help ahead of referral may just aggravate the case. This is a matter that may must be checked out via essential stakeholders in the well being sector, however we will be able to come again to it any other day. That isn’t the thrust of this intervention.

I’ve learn the accounts of households of a number of sufferers suggesting they should not have misplaced their cherished one if the healthcare execs (or the clinic) who handled them had implemented an obligation of care. I have no idea what the rules are regarding negligence via well being execs, however I subscribe to the concept that they will have to be stringent sufficient to discourage the roughly laxity that we witness in an atmosphere the place blameless lives will also be, and are steadily, cynically wasted because of carelessness. But I additionally know that there are circumstances the place households of sufferers merely in finding it tough to just accept that individuals die.

One attention-grabbing ebook I like to recommend on that is ‘Did He Save Lives? A Surgeon’s Story’ via David Sellu, a revered British surgeon whose outstanding profession of over 4 a long time used to be brutally terminated in 2010 when a affected person died below his care in a personal clinic. Prosecuted and convicted for the affected person’s dying, Sellu’s apply licence used to be suspended, and he served 15 months in jail for what used to be no longer his fault. He ultimately gained the enchantment towards his conviction, however the injury had already been performed.

Notwithstanding my misgivings about the NMA commentary, this can be a indisputable fact that execs in the well being sector are changing into increasingly more endangered in Nigeria. Anybody who has adopted the social media should have learn a number of unverified tales which are used as fodders via the ‘May-Nigeria-not-happen-to-you’ mob. Once any individual relays an account of ways a relative died (and the complete tale is maximum steadily by no means advised) in clinic, commentators soar to conclusions that it ‘the same old Nigerian malaise’. Almost as though folks do not die in overseas hospitals. Yes, there are circumstances of legal negligence, and so they should be handled. But it’s not proper to conclude that every one circumstances of dying in our hospitals are because of the negligence of well being execs.

At the root of this disaster is the propensity for jungle justice in Nigeria. I’ve written numerous columns on the matter. But whilst jungle justice for all means of offences, or even for no offence in any respect, could have been with us for a very long time, we will have to do the entirety to forestall a descent to anarchy that the barbarism of attacking well being execs for the dying of sufferers exemplifies. If there are problems with negligence, there are suitable channels for reporting skilled misconduct and in quest of redress. That is the civilized means. We should handle the impulse that drives Nigerians to take the regulation into their very own palms when issues do not pass their means.

The Bulletproof Saviour

Last September in Anambra State, 5 folks misplaced their lives when gunmen ambushed the convoy of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah. “Two police officers were killed. The other three that died in the attack were one civilian and two aides of Ifeanyi Ubah,” consistent with Tochukwu Ikenga, police spokesperson in the state, who added that two different law enforcement officials had been additionally injured. A month later in October, it used to be the convoy of a well-liked Christian cleric, Apostle Johnson Suleman, that used to be attacked via gunmen. Seven folks, together with 3 law enforcement officials, had been additionally killed. And on Monday, the lives of 4 policemen had been gruesomely terminated when the convoy of a former Imo Governor, Ikedi Ohakim used to be attacked via gunmen in the state.