Monday, 28 October 2019

No hospital/doctor has right to ask for police report before treating anyone under any circumstances —Firsts Baba Isa

28 October 2019 

There is a law in place that is supposed to regulate this: the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017.

The Act provides for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots by hospitals in Nigeria and goes further to impose on every citizen, a civic duty to render every possible assistance to any person with gunshot wounds by ensuring that the person is taken to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment. 

There are sixteen (16) sections in the Act and the following are notable among them:

1. Every hospital is to receive and treat victims of gunshot wounds with or without police clearance and/or payment of an initial deposit, but are duty bound to report to the nearest police station within two hours of commencing treatment on the victim.

2. No person with a gunshot wound shall be subjected to torture or any inhuman or degrading treatment by any person or authority including the police or any security agency.

This provision reaffirms the constitutional right of every citizen to dignity of human person.

3. The police may only receive a gunshot victim upon certification of fitness by the Chief Medical Director of the hospital where he is receiving treatment.

4. The High Court of a State or the FCT may in deserving cases order a person convicted under the Act in addition to other penalties, to pay damages to the victim as restitution for injuries or loss sustained by the victim and such order is enforceable by the victim or by the prosecutor on behalf of the victim.

5. Every hospital is to keep an adequate record of the treatment of bullet wound victims.

6. A hospital that receives any gunshot victim is required to notify the family members or relations of the victim as far as they may ascertain within 24 hours of becoming aware of the victim's identity.

7. Any authority or person, whose omission results in the unnecessary death of a gunshot victim shall be liable to imprisonment for 5 years or a fine in the sum of N500, 000.00 or both.

8. Any person who commits an offence under the Act especially, when the offence does not lead to death of victim but led to substantial physical, mental, emotional and psychological damage, shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 years and not less than 5 years without the option of fine.

9. Where an offence (under the Act) is committed by a corporate body, the corporate head shall be prosecuted.


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