TORTIOUS LIABILITY OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS IN NIGERIA

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TORTIOUS LIABILITY OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS IN NIGERIA

Abstract:

This thesis entitled, “Tortious Liability of Medical Practitioners in Nigeria: An Appraisal,” Examines critically, the civil (tortious) Liability of Health care providers in Nigeria. In Nigeria, there is very little awareness that medical professional duties carry legal implications. The conduct of professional people in the medical field, positive or negative, does not only affect their employers but impact directly on third parties. Consequently, liability will arise both against the employer and the employee professional, in the event of a broach of duty by the latter to act with reasonable care and deligence. The Law is therefore, well settled that medical men owe duty in tort, i.e. civil wrongs to their patients whether there is a contract with the patient or not. Unfortunately, this aspect of the laws is not properly exploit in Nigeria especially in the Northern part, due to low level of awareness and cultural norms in which every mishap is attributed to God’s will. Secondly, the cost of litigation is high and even with the undeveloped Legal Aid System in Nigeria, not everybody is eligible for legal aid. And lastly, doctor – patient relationship evidence has shown that family doctors are less likely to be sued as they are more likely to have relationship of trust with their patients. Nevertheless, the law of medical malpractice has come to stay in Nigeria even though litigation is on small scale. Victims of medical malpractices have brought actions against medical practitioners in Negligence, criminal law, and in trespass in Nigerian Courts, especially in southern Nigeria. This work starts with an introductory chapter which discusses the objectives of the thesis, its scope, the method by which the research is conducted and the organizational Layout of the thesis. Secondly negligence is discussed as the basis of liability of medial practitioners. Under this, the nature of negligence of medical practitioners is discussed and some instances of civil medical malpractice analysed properly. And finally the liabilities of quacks and native doctors are also ciscussed. Thirdly trespass and criminal liability of medical practitioners, as well as the liability of hospital managements, are discussed. Fourthly the defences and remedies to tortious liability of medical practitioners, in Nigeria are examined. And finally, we have the summary (Conclusion) and Suggestions for reforms in the area of medical malpractice law, especially the tortuous aspect in Nigeria.

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