By Gbenga Gbelee
Victims of gunshot wounds now have the law backing their access to medical care as the Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would which now makes it compulsory for them to receive every necessary treatment and assistance from medical workers and security agencies.
Tagged the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, it 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.
Speaking on the imperativeness of the Bill, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, stated that not everyone with gunshot injury is a criminal, hence, the need for a legal framework to be put into place to avoid unnecessary loss of lives due to avoidable causes.
The Senate President said with the passage of the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, the red chamber 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, He explained further that the bill will ensure that everyone is entitled to medical treatment, irrespective of the cause of the shooting and emphasised that judgment should be reserved for the criminal justice system while healthcare should be left for medical professionals.
The Bill also ensures that every person including security agents shall render every possible assistance to any person with gunshot wounds and ensure that the victim is taken to the nearest hospital for treatment as against the present practice where hospitals insist on police presence or clearance before attending to victims of gunshot wound.
Other Bills that the Senate passed on Tuesday which will be forwarded to the President for assent include: Animal Health and Husbandry Technologies (Registration, etc) Bill, 2017 (HB. 320); Corporate Manslaughter Bill, 2017 (HB. 273); National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency Bill, 2017 (HB. 127); National Intelligence Agency Pension Board Bill, 2017 (HB. 842); Nigerian Academy of Science Bill, 2017 (HB. 917); and the National Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science Bill (HB. 405).
This brings the total number of Bills passed by the 8th Senate since June 9th,2015 to 108.