Do you remember the girl who is motherless, her mother died because the doctor discharged her too early, after she had a caesarean section, what of the young man who is frustrated because he contacted HIV/AIDS after he had blood transfusion. Do not forget the elderly man who died because the drugs prescribed for him was wrong for his actual ailment.
Loved ones are lost on daily basis creating a vacuum that will forever be empty, this pain we live with a lifetime. But the pain felt when a loved one is lost cannot be compared to losing a loved one due to medical negligence which results from sheer carelessness of a professional in the medical field while discharging their duties.
A professional is a person formally certified by a professional body or belonging to a specific profession by virtue of having completed a required course of study. A medical doctor, a pharmacist, a laboratory scientist and many more fall in this category according to this definition. It is therefore a thing of uttermost important that a professional should be sound in knowledge and skilful in his area of specialty due to the impact and exposure to theories and practical’s undergone during training.
Negligence, according to the English Oxford living Dictionaries and I quote is failure to take proper care over something / a breach of a duty of care which results in damage. Medical negligence therefore, is the failure of medical professionals to discharge their duty of care which results in the damage or eventual death of a patient. Medical negligence includes; providing incorrect medication, delay in diagnosis, misdiagnosis of a patient’s condition, failure to refer to appropriate specialists, premature discharge of a patient, failure to listen and act on compliant of complications made by patients and many more.
Although, there is no convertible data on the actual number of medical negligence cases in Nigerian hospitals, patients and medical practitioners alike acknowledge that the number is quite high. This leads us back to the question the topic seeks answer to, is the medical certifying body failing in their bid to train and certify medical practitioners? In my opinion, I will say yes. Medical schools, faculties of sciences, nursing schools and many more are all inclusive in the certifying bodies mentioned above, and these bodies are saddled with the responsibility of training, screening and ensuring that only the best are licenced to be medical workers knowing that human life is precious and valuable.
Furthermore, The effect of medical negligence is felt across board, as even the “hospitals for the rich” may employ a staff due to his certification without knowing that the staff is not qualified in reality, therefore to avoid cases where patients die due to lack of proper care by health workers like; forgetting of operating tools in the abdomen of a patient by a doctor, mixing up of blood samples by laboratory scientists, injecting of wrong dosage by nurses and many more, the medical certifying bodies In Nigeria should look into its system.
Many are fast to blame the government for medical negligence but forget that although the government has a role to play to reduce it, the medical certifying bodies seem to have the solution to this growing menace. A medical student who cannot conduct a successful surgery on a cadaver has no business in taking the Hippocratic Oath, a nursing student who is unable to administer injection properly to an animal has no reason to be certified a nurse same applies to other medical fields.
Until medical bodies make it a point of duty to provide good lecturers, who will for no reason be seen or caught taking bribes to pass a student, facilities for training which will aid understanding of complex topics, as well as certifying only the best in various medical fields, they will continue to fail in their responsibility of providing Nigeria as a country and the world at large with qualified health professionals, and this will result in the increase in cases of medical negligence.
In summary, Medical bodies should do their best to train and certify professionals, while professionals in the medical field should endeavour to keep their professional knowledge and skills up to date by engaging in trainings that will maintain and develop their competence and performance.
Also, the government on its part should make sure the best facilities and funding are provided for professionals to aid them in carrying out their activities. The managing board of Private owned hospitals should make sure they employ the best and certified medical staff, as well as providing the best facilities and funding for them to carry out their activities. Finally, Patients should be proactive about their health and medical treatment by coming out clean about their health histories, with this we hope to have reduced or no case of medical negligence in the long run.
Definition of Negligence. Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/negligence
Investigation; Nigerian hospital where ‘medical negligence’ causes death of women, babies. Retrieved from htps://ww.preniumtimesng.com/news/headlines/219289-investifation-nigerian-hospital-medical-negligenc-causes-death-women-babies.html
Medical incidents in developing countries: a few case studies fro Nigeria.www.njcponline.com/article.asp?issn=1119-3077; year=2015;volume=18;issue=7; spage=24;aulast=Chukwuneke
Medical negligence in Nigeria: When Hospitals Kill. Retrieved from www.radianhealthmag.com/health-wellness/medical-negligence-in-nigeria/