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NMA appeals for improved security, empathy for doctors

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The Nigeria Medical Association, Federal Capital Territory, has appealed to relevant government agencies to provide more security for the safety of its members.

The Chairman, NMA-FCT, Dr. Charles Ugwuanyi, made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria after a thanksgiving outing to kick-start the 2023 Physician Week, celebrated annually in October.

NAN reports that the chairman spoke on the backdrop of the recent backlash on doctors, on alleged negligence of duty at their workplaces due to the death of a ‘one chance’ victim in Abuja recently.

He said that the incident brought so many attacks on doctors and called on relevant government authorities, particularly security organisations, to provide more protection for NMA members.

According to him, the incident subjected Nigerian medical doctors in the FCT to various forms of violence ranging from physical to emotional abuse.

“So much is expected from the Nigerian doctor but very little is given to them. Therefore, we operate in a very hostile environment and it seems like any unfortunate incident that takes place in a public institution is always blamed on doctors.

“As you are aware, recently, an unpleasant news went viral in one of our hospitals here in the FCT, where a doctor was alleged to have refused to treat a patient.

“Let me use this opportunity to remind people in authority that our duty is to treat people who are alive; we are not trained to wake people up from death, therefore, when they apportion blame when things don’t go well, it should be properly aligned.

“On the issue of a police report, I don’t know why they expect a doctor who is attending to a patient to abandon another patient in search of the police report.

“We view that the people who are bringing in an accident victim should take the responsibility of bringing a police report. It is not the duty of a doctor to abandon other patients in search of a police report.

“We have been badly traumatized because of the negative publicity. It is unfair, especially when people in governance who are supposed to be in the know are expecting us to do otherwise,” he stressed.

He described the whole issue as unfortunate, warning that Nigerian doctors are not magicians meant to wake the dead, but only trained to treat sick people.

The NMA FCT Chairman stressed that if a dead body is brought to the hospital, “they should know that the place for dead people is the mortuary and not push it on doctors”.

Ugwuanyi, therefore, appealed to the relevant government agencies to be alive to their responsibilities, especially in the area of security, adding that security agents should secure doctors’ lives

He said doctors are now being victimised in the hospital, which is their place of work, adding that NMA had reported several incidents of doctors and nurses being beaten up in their places of work.

According to him, some doctors had also been murdered in their consulting rooms, noting that nobody had ever talked about it, and appealed that when there are lapses, the blame should be channelled to the appropriate quarters.

He emphasized that adequate security should be provided so that the few doctors remaining in the country would have the psychological sanity to discharge their responsibilities.

He earlier told NAN that the physician week is an event to introspect and reflect on the meaning of being a physician, stressing that it has historic antecedents.

Ugwuanyi said the period was also a time for the association to look out for each other, identify issues of common interest and use the opportunity to carry out medical outreaches.

He said that the period was also a time to render selfless service to the less privileged, and a period to look at contemporary issues affecting the smooth practice of medicine in Nigeria.

(NAN)

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