The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria says it is “unethical and unconstitutional” doctors demanding for money from patients before treatment or conducting surgical operation.
The Registrar of the Council, Dr. Abdulmumini Ibrahim, said this on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Ibrahim noted that it was the reason behind the legislation that patients should not suffer or lose their lives because they were unable to make a deposit.
However, he explained that the doctor, by the provision, also deserves the right to ask the court to retrieve his money for services rendered that the patient did not pay for.
He said: “It is the right of patients to be treated before making payments.
“You only pay for services rendered not the one yet to be rendered.
“For those under insurance cover, doctors always treat the patients before presenting the medical bill for payment, so such treatment should as well be accorded to others.”
Ibrahim advised patients to always petition the Council through the Registrar when faced with such situation, adding that such doctor would be dealt with when found wanting.
According to him, the complainant should incorporate the actual offence committed by the doctor, among others.
He said: “When a patient sees a doctor, it is your right to be treated first before payment is requested.
“So when people say they went to hospital, the doctor or hospital authority says they must make a deposit before treatment is very wrong.
“When you visit a hospital, services will be rendered to you, you will be told how much it is.
“For example, if you are going to have a surgical operation, the cost of the operation will be disclosed to you.
“It is after you have the operation that payment will be made.
“It is wrong to insist that you must make a deposit before the treatment will be given.
“The reason is that you will not suffer or lose your life because you were not able to make a deposit.
“When you are faced with such situation, report to the council.”
Ibrahim listed other rights of patients to include right to life and confidentiality, among others.
The Registrar, however, said doctors do not have the right to divulge any information regarding the patient, except with the patient’s consent.
He said: “Such information could only be divulged without the consent of the patient on demand by the law court.
“It is the duty of doctors to save the life of patients and not to kill or make fortunes out of a sick person.”
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