Health professionals urged to work in accordance with stipulated laws

Sir Justice Professor Dennis Dominic Adjei, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, has stressed the need for health professionals to work in accordance with stipulated laws, to avoid issues with dire consequences on human lives and their professions

He said since human rights were basic and each of them – caregivers and patients, needed to exhibit acts of kindness to foster peace and prevent blunders, it was important for patients and health workers to respect each other to be able to offer the needed assistance.

Speaking at a seminar in Kumasi, to deliberate on issues emerging from the conduct of health professionals and patients, Sir Justice Adjei, pointed out that, per the laws, patients must consent to bodily contacts by a medical professional to avoid bringing an action against the facility and health practitioner for battery.

The seminar was organized by Patient Rights (PR) Watch Ghana, an NGO dedicated to protecting and advancing the constitutional and statutory rights of patients in Ghana.

Among the to
pics discussed were medical ethics, standard of care and patients’ rights in the context of traditional/herbal practice in Ghana in the 21st century, the menace of medical negligence and the role of Patient Charter in assisting the Medical and Dental Council to confront the challenge.

Also, presentations were made on nurse-patient conflict and analysis of the medico-legal implications of patients’ rights and responsibilities; its justifiability and relevance as a tool to combat patients’ rights abuses.

Sir Justice Adjei, giving typical hospital instances, noted that there were categories of health professionals, and a member of each of the health professionals might meet a patient who visited the facility to seek medical treatment.

‘Immediately one goes to a hospital, one may get the personal details recorded and the negligence starts from that point.

A name may be misspelled and another person bearing the same may respond to the other person’s name.

The drug of these two individuals may be changed, and
these have a tendency of causing grave consequences on the health of patient,’ he cited.

He called on health professionals to be diligent in their duties to avoid unnecessary mistakes which could have dire consequences for the patient and the facility.

Dr. Emmanuel Tenkorang, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Service, said constant advocacies on these issues could help correct the wrongs in the health sector.

He pointed out that medico-legal issues were rampant with the Ashanti Region alone having 52 cases on hand at present.

Mr. Isaac Ofori Gyeabour, President and Founder, Patient Rights Watch Ghana, said patient charter was crucial to safeguarding the rights of patients and standardizing healthcare delivery, but had sadly been shrouded since its passage.

Going forward, he believed that educating health professionals about the legal implications of their work and empowering ordinary patients with knowledge about their rights were key.

Source: Ghana News Agency