September 26, 2020
MEDICO-LEGAL PRACTICE IN NIGERIA: BALANCING THE RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES OF PATIENTS AND MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS. **
By Mercy Agbo (Associate)
The COVID 19 pandemic has put the world today on a standstill. Businesses and human activities have been put on hold for the life of mankind to be preserved. It is safe to say that health practitioners especially, medical doctors are at the forefront of this battle and there is need to preserve a continuous and friendly relationship between them and patients. It is established law that doctors owe a sacrosanct medical duty of care to their patients which requires a high degree of skill and competence; otherwise, liability for medical negligence may arise. However, given certain circumstances, it is not easily determinable when negligence is said to have arisen as instanced where due to the COVID 19 pandemic, most doctors may be scared and decide not to attend to sick persons especially those who show symptoms of the virus, where a patient dies in the course of being treated or out of improper diagnosis by the doctor or hospital.
This article, therefore, tends to answer the posers: whether a medical doctor can refuse to treat a patient? Whether the patients have any right? Whether a medical doctor or a hospital can be liable for negligence? by focusing on the duties and responsibilities of medical practitioners vis a vis the rights of patients with a discuss on medical negligence, its elements and remedial actions that can be brought up in the case of a breach.