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House of Representatives

Reps Tasks FG Over Hospitals Refusing To Treat Accident, Gunshot Victims

The House of Representatives has requested that the Federal Ministry of Health take swift action against hospitals and healthcare facilities that refuse to treat accident or gunshot patients without a police report.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by a member of the House, Odianosen Okojie (APC-Edo) during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.

Earlier, Mr Okojie said that the provisions of Section 1 of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 provides that every hospital is to receive and treat victims of gunshot wounds with or without police clearance.

He said that the sections also state that the hospital management are duty bound to report to the nearest police station within hours of commencing treatment on the victim.

The lawmaker said that Section 7 of the Act states that “any authority or person whose omission results in the unnecessary death of a gunshot victim shall be liable to imprisonment for five years or a fine of N500,000.00 or both.’’

Mr Okojie said that immediate medical attention was crucial for survival and quality of life for accident or gunshot victims.

According to him, hospitals and healthcare facilities have an ethical and legal obligation to preserve human life regardless of the circumstances.

He said, “Observes that despite the Act providing for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots by hospitals in the country, there are rising cases of medical personnel refusing to treat victims due to absence of police reports. Also aware that patients requiring emergency medical treatment due to accidents or gunshot injuries usually face denial or delayed access to healthcare services if they fail to present a police report.

“Concerned that many victims of accidents or gunshots are unable to obtain a police report promptly, given the severity of their injuries, the absence of law enforcement at the scene, or other relevant factors beyond their control.

“Worried that the refusal of hospitals to treat patients without a police report is a direct violation of the principles of medical ethics, professional conduct, and the universal right of individuals to access healthcare. This discriminatory practice disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations, such as minorities and the poor, who are more likely to experience higher rates of accidents or gun-related incidents.”

The representative observed that existing laws and regulations do not explicitly prohibit hospitals from refusing treatment to accident or gunshot victims without a police report which gives room for the unjust practice.

The House urged the ministry to enforce regulations prohibiting hospitals from denying or delaying emergency medical care to victims of accidents or gunshot wounds without a police report and impose appropriate sanctions and penalties;

The green chambers urged the Federal Ministry of Information, through the National Orientation Agency, to organise campaigns to educate the public, hospitals, and healthcare professionals about the necessity of immediate medical assistance for accident or gunshot victims.

The Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, mandated the committee on healthcare services to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative actions.