Senate Okays Compulsory Treatment Of Gunshot Victims
A law that will compel hospitals to treat victims of gunshot wounds before they provide police report will soon take effect in Nigeria.
The Senate has passed the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill into law.
The bill, which was passed on Tuesday, was sent to the Senate by the House of Representatives for concurrence.
It will put in force a law that ensure that victims of gunshot wounds receive necessary treatment from medical workers and assistance from security agencies.
The bill also seeks to ensure that every person, including security agents, assist any person with gunshot wounds and ensure that the person is taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Additionally, the legislation mandates that no person with gunshot wounds shall be refused immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria, whether or not initial monetary deposit is paid.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, noted that not every person shot was a criminal.
He said it was important that a legal framework be put into place to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
Saraki said: “By the passage of this bill, the Senate has moved to ensure that every hospital in Nigeria, both public and private, must accept to treat victims of gunshot wounds without any clearance from the police.
“What we have done is to ensure that everyone is entitled to medical treatment, irrespective of the cause of the shooting. We should reserve judgment for the criminal justice system, and leave healthcare for the medical professionals".
Several persons that could have survived have died because hospitals requested for police report before they begin to treat persons with gunshot wounds.
Most times passers-by avoid assisting such persons, to avoid intimidating questioning by the police over the individual being assisted.
Other bills for concurrence passed by the Senate on Tuesday, which will be forwarded to the President for assent are the Animal Health and Husbandry Technologies (Registration, etc) Bill, 2017; Corporate Manslaughter Bill, 2017; National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency Bill, 2017; National Intelligence Agency Pension Board Bill, 2017; Nigerian Academy of Science Bill, 2017 and the National Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science Bill.