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Lassa Fever Council to sanction hospital for unethical conduct

"We do not work on 'hearsay’. There has to be valid complaint by anybody and all the information regarding the complaint is in public domain, and we will pick it up from there.

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The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) on Friday warned that it will sanction any health facility that failed to report suspected cases of Lassa fever to appropriate quarters in good time.

Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, Registrar of the council, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

NAN reports that the council is charged with the responsibilities to regulate the practice of medicine, dentistry and alternative medicine in the most efficient manner that safeguards best healthcare delivery for the populace.

Speaking on the first recorded death in the FCT as a result of Lassa fever, Ibrahim said the council was yet to receive any complaint from the public on factors that led to death of the victim at the National Hospital.

Ibrahim explained that the council do not rely on "hearsay’’ in prosecuting any case, but rather base its actions on valid complaints by members of the public.

He also said that such complaints must be available in the public domain.

According to him, the complaint which could be published by anybody must contain full details of what actually transpired at the Kubwa private hospital, among others.

"We do not work on 'hearsay’. There has to be valid complaint by anybody and all the information regarding the complaint is in public domain, and we will pick it up from there.

"So, if anybody should complain and against that hospital we will investigate the case and see what went wrong and bring that that doctor to book,’’ he said.

Ibrahim, who noted that the council had the mandate of ensuring disciplinary measures were meted out to erring practitioners with regard to misconduct, however insisted that the council work with documents and not side talk.

Describing the delay in referral of patients with any ailment as unethical, the registrar urged medical practitioners to ensure prompt referral of patients to appropriate hospitals for proper medical care or improved services.

NAN recalls that the first death recorded in Abuja metropolis as a result of Lassa fever occurred on Jan. 13, after the victim spent about a week at the Kubwa private hospital in the FCT.

The 33-year-old man from Plateau was unconscious before he was referred to the National Hospital Abuja.

"It is quite unethical for any doctor to delay any case in his own facility without referral. We have levels of care in this country, in primary level of care there is specific ailment they are suppose to treat for them to refer to the next level.

"Likewise the private hospitals and clinics, you do not keep somebody with fever after treatment of the fever abating.

"Any fever that is been treated between 48 to 72 hours should vanish, whether is malaria, typhoid or fever emanating from cancer which can pose all sort of symptoms.

"At your own level if you start treating and investigating any patient and realise that is a case you cannot handle then you refer that case rather than allowing the patient’s condition to deteriorate,’’ Ibrahim advised.

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