A Port Harcourt based medical practitioner, Dr. Cyril Igbafe Ekhaeyemhe has risen in defense against insinuations that doctors 'detain' patients in their hospitals after they are treated and fail to discharge their medical bills.
The medic, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, emphasized that a medical facility is what he described as a care giving center and not a 'detention center” as erroneously insinuated in some quarters.
Dr. Ekhaeyemhe, the Chief Medical Director of Mount Hermon Hospital, Port Harcourt said the clarification became necessary against the sidelines of insinuations that patients who fail to settle their bills are 'forcefully detained' by the hospitals pending when the bills are paid.
The CMD revealed that his hospital have in its record undertakings by many clients who have absconded for a long time without paying their bills even after they had been rescued from health challenges that brought them to the hospital.
“A case in point is the matter wherein I was sued to a tune of N1 billion by a patient who the Almighty God used us to turn back to life from death. They claimed that my facility is a detention center and that I detained the woman against her will to stay and settle my bill. In other words, I should have allowed her to go for eternal detention center called the gave or to die somewhere else”, he revealed.
Dr. Ekhaeyemhe went on: “My establishment does not restrain or obstruct patients. On the contrary, some patients, after being treated, do abscond, jump through the fence or pretend to see off relatives, thereby running away from their signed obligation before God”.
He explained that some of the undertakings were personally drafted by the patients' family relations who are lawyers or responsible men in the society and they never came back to fulfill their signed obligations which they undertook, adding, “We have never under such instance gone after them”.
The medical practitioner stated that by virtue of the physician's sworn oath which stated that 'the doctor shall not allow anything to stand between himself and the patient', the hospital in this instance, saved a patient's life and that of her baby despite the fact that adequate medical fee was not deposited by the patient.
The medical expert affirmed that the physician's sworn oath does not in any way state that the physician must not collect his fee after saving a life.
“In this very pathetic case, the husband and wife particularly undertook and signed that they shall settle the medical bill before leaving the hospital and they clearly stated that should they default; a legal action shall be taken against them.
“I was shocked when the couple through their lawyer served the hospital the suit summon with an attached picture which the patient condescended so low by coming down from her bed sitting down in the bare floor with a smuggled carton after they have brought in a photographer to snap the scenario in order to feign she was detained”, he narrated.
He explained that on seeing the picture, he invited a cameraman to snap the very same background with the patient sitting down on her 'very comfortable bed'.
The medical practitioner said against his hope that the law would take its normal course, the High Court on 17/09/19 through a vacation court ruled in favour of the Applicant and awarded a cost of N500, 000.
Dr. Ekhaeyemhe disclosed that he had already instructed his lawyers to file notice of appeal and a stay execution of the judgment.
The doctor who further disclosed that he possessed over thirty years of experience in medical field appealed to federal government and lawmakers to turn attention to the plight of doctors by enacting laws that will also protect the right of the doctors while saving the life of its citizens.
He equally called on the government to enact a law that will expunge the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) for more effective efficient service delivery.