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 and would attract five-year jail term.
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 were 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 demanded 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 violated 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.