No law says a doctor needs police report to treat gunshot victims -NMA


Innocent Ujah, president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), says the police should stop harassing medical doctors for treating patients with gun wounds.

He says there is no law which mandates doctors to demand a police report before treating victims of gunshots.


His reaction comes on the heels of the bill by Remi Tinubu, a senator, seeking the amendment of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017.


In 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari signed in the bill alongside other bills, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Amendment Act, Federal Capital Territory Water Board (Establishment) Act, National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (Establishment) Act, Anti-Torture Act and Federal Capital Appropriation Act.


Reacting to this development on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme on Friday, the NMA president said doctors do not need police reports to treat patients in cases of emergency.


He said though the police do not have any business demanding reports before doctors can treat patients with gun wounds, they harass doctors who do.


Ujah advised the government to sensitise the law enforcement agencies on the roles of health practitioners, saying medical doctors do not need permission to attend to emergencies.


“As doctors we don’t need police reports in emergency cases to treat patients. What you need to do is to save the life of the patients,” he said.


“Unfortunately, the law enforcement agencies in this country have lost their bearing in terms of control, they have no business asking us to get police reports before we treat emergency situations.


“The Nigeria police should be educated on the role of the medical doctor. A medical doctor doesn’t need any permission before he attends to any emergency. We don’t even ask for fees.”


“You must first get the patient alive before you would think about fees.


 “The reality on the ground is that when you do that you may be an accomplice; they may accuse you of hobnobbing or hiding, in cases of armed robbery and the rest.


“That creates fear and uncertainty and insecurity for the doctors and that’s why some doctors ask for police reports but by and large, there’s no law that says a doctor must seek a police report before he treats an emergency.


“I think it is the overzealousness of the police that when you treat such cases, they might say you’re complicit. So obviously the doctor is not safe and needs to be protected.


“Doctors have been harassed, some of of them locked up; they have been killed in the process of saving lives because of the police.”

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