Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has instituted investigations into an incident that happened at Chilenje First Level Hospital where accident victims were denied emergency medical services before obtaining a Police Medical Report.
And ZMA has appealed to members of the public to report any medical staff denying medical services to victims of trauma without a police report to regulatory authorities.
In statement issued on Monday, ZMA Secretary General Francis Mupeta regretted the incidence and disclosed that appropriate measures would be taken on the medical staff at the hospital.
Dr Mupeta stated that there was no law in Zambia that required a police report before a health worker could provide medical attention.
“The Zambia Medical Association regrets the incidence that happened at Chilenje First Level Hospital where accident victims were denied emergency medical services before obtaining police medical reports. The Association has instituted investigations on the involvement of Medical doctors in the incidence and appropriate measures shall be taken if found wanting. The public may wish to know that there is no law in Zambia that requires a police report before a health worker can provide medical attention. It is the responsibility of the victim, if they wish to press charges, to ensure they obtain a police report in order to assist with the legal process. But the police report plays no immediate role in the medical management of the patient or victim,” he stated.
“Victims or patients should be provided by medical personnel that cases of trauma may require the law enforcement agencies to be informed. A medical provider is not mandated to force the victim or patient to obtain the Police medical report form before attending to them. Therefore, we wish to reiterate that there are no circumstances under the Zambian law where a patient or victim must provide a medical report before being attended to.”
He stated that in case of an emergency, medical doctors were on duty all the time and were required to offer emergency treatment to affected victims.
“The public may wish to know that in case of an emergency, medical doctors are on duty all the time and are required to offer emergency treatment to affected victims. However, under the laws of Zambia, every criminal act must be reported within reasonable time to the law enforcement agencies such as Zambia Police Service. In respect to medical emergencies, trauma resulting from acts of violence or accidents be it domestic, industrial and transportation should be reported to law enforcement agencies. Kindly note that attendance to such emergencies does not require a police report form as is commonly believed. Where the first point trauma patients go to is a hospital, medical staff are expected to attend to these victims and then later on advice the victims on the reporting procedures to Zambia Police,” Dr Mupeta stated.
He further stated that sending away victims because they had no police reports was against the standards of good medical practice and ethics.
“The public may also wish to know that only fully licensed medical doctors are allowed to sign on any legal forms such as police medical report forms and such a doctor should have been the one who attended to the patient/victim. In the case that a doctor with a provisional license, attended to such a patient, the immediate supervisor sign on the form. The Association wishes to remind all medical doctors that sending away victims of trauma of any sort from emergency rooms if they have no police medical report forms, is against the standards of good medical practice and the principles of medical ethics. The association will not protect any member who is not upholding principles of good medical practice in cases of emergency,” he stated.
Dr Mupeta retaliated that members of the public should report such medical officers to regulatory authorities.
“The Association would like to appeal to Ministry of Health and Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) to develop guidelines on reporting systems for ‘medicolegal’ cases. We hope to work with law enforcement agencies to mandate health workers to advise victims of trauma on the reporting procedures immediately they are stabilised. We encourage members of the public to report medical staff denying medical services to victims of trauma without police medical report forms to regulatory authorities such as the Health Professions Council of Zambia. Zambia Medical Association remains committed to ensuring that medical doctors uphold highest standards of medical practice to ensure that we serve our people diligently,” stated Dr Mupeta.