AN International Medical Law Expert, Barrister Laolu Osanyin, has said that Nigerian medical doctors are easy target for litigation due to their poor record keeping habit.
Delivering a keynote lecture at the 2018 scientific conference of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) chapter on Thursday, Osanyin said that Nigerian doctors are worst record keepers, thus, prone to litigation.
Talking on the theme, “Medicine, Malpractice and Misapprehension Conundrum: The Need to Protect the Doctors from Litigation”, the medical law expert described medical negligence as when a doctor fails to do what a reasonable person will do or does what a reasonable person will not do, resulting to harm and injury.
Osanyin, who is currently the first and only African on the Board of Governors of the World Association of Medical Law, observed that Nigeria doctors are the easiest persons to be sued for medical negligence.
“Nigerian doctors are the worst record keepers and in medical law, if it is not written, it did not happen.”
The Medical Law expert pointed out that some Nigerian Doctors are guilty of medical malpractices without even knowing, adding that a Consultant Supervisor is responsible for the mistakes of his subordinates.
“You don’t have to see a patient in order to be responsible for him or her, medical negligence is the omission to do what a responsible medical practitioner would do or doing what a reasonable medical practitioner would refrain from doing,” he said.
He also said that doctors, who evade payment of annual practising license, are more prone to conviction for medical negligence, adding that failure to produce up-to-date annual practising licence in the court of law during litigation could worsen doctor’s case.
The expert in Medical Law advised doctors to avoid litigation cultivating the habit of record keeping, informing patients of risks inherent in treatment, speaking to the patients in language they understand and writing legibly for easy understanding, among others.
In his goodwill message, the Chief Medical Director, (CMD) of UITH, Prof. Dasilva Yusuf, said health care providers had become an endangered species and the earlier they realize that, the better for the profession.
The CMD represented by Dr Abiodun Adeniran, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, observed that most of the issues that caused disagreement between patients and health care providers are preventable.
He added that one of the aspects to preventing litigation is through proper documentation which is so fundamental in the medical profession.
Prof Yusuf counselled that when patients have serious conditions, doctors should take time to explain to them in clear terms.
He advised them to know when to call for help most importantly when they know they could not perform maximally.
Earlier in his welcome address, NARD President, UITH Chapter, Dr Owolabi Sunday observed that there was a rise in litigation against doctors in recent times.
He, therefore, appealed for the need in the provision of adequate and enhanced training and medical equipment, as well as a conducive work environment for medical practitioners in Nigeria.
Dr Sunday expressed happiness over the cordial relationship between the association and the UITH, adding that the present CMD had committed himself to the welfare of medical doctors.
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