Reject gunshot victims and risk 5-year jail term, police threaten doctors

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The Lagos State Police Command on Wednesday warned hospitals and doctors to henceforth desist from rejecting gunshot victims, saying such act constitutes a flagrant violation of an existing law.

Reacting to a media report on the refusal of an hospital to treat a victim who was shot and wounded by armed robbers, the police said it must be noted that doctors who do so are criminally liable on account of the provision of the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims Of Gunshot Act, 2017.

In a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, the police said it would henceforth arrest and prosecute any medical practitioner who rejects gunshot victims on the ground of police report.

“The attention of the Nigeria Police, Lagos State Command, has been drawn to the Punch Newspapers publication of Monday, May 14, 2018, captioned ” Hospital rejects victim over bullet injuries.”

“The story goes that one Engr. Adebayo Akinwunmi, a senior engineer with an Information and Communications Technology company, was shot and wounded by armed robbers in his house at Ofada-Mokoloki, Ogun state and was brought to Reddington hospital, Ikeja for treatment only to be refused admission on the unlawful and inexcusable grounds that there was no police report.

“The Command considers the action of the hospital as cruel; perhaps, an indication that the hospital management may be ignorant of the “Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims Of Gunshot Act, 2017,” Oti said.

He said the Act demands that every hospital in Nigeria whether public or private ‘shall accept or receive for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance any person with a gunshot wounds.’

“The Act, however requires the hospital treating such a patient to report the fact to the nearest police station within two (2) hours of commencement of treatment,” Oti clarified.

He said the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal was saddened by the allegation against the said hospital, and had henceforth directed the arrest and prosecution of any medical practitioner who violates the law.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Imohimi Edgal, saddened by the allegation against the Reddington Hospital, has directed all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in Lagos State to henceforth arrest and diligently prosecute any medical practitioner who rejects a gunshot victim on the ground of no police report.

“The CP wants doctors to note that the Act recommends a 5-year-jail term for any person, hospital or authority who stands by or omits to do his bit which results in the unnecessary death of any person with bullet wounds,” Oti said.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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