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Patients who hide their travel history from health workers ‘should be punished’

Patients who hide their travel history from health workers ‘should be punished’
April 13
22:45 2020
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Sesan Olajide, director of legal services at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, says patients who hide their health status or travel history from health workers should be severely punished.

A 55-year-old man who died from complications of COVID-19 had reportedly lied to doctors at LUTH about his travel history and health conditions.

The man had died shortly before the result of his COVID-19 test was released. The health workers who attended to him later went on isolation.

In a statement on Monday, Olajide said concealing important information makes it difficult for health practitioners to give their best, as well as put the lives of caregivers at risk.

Olajide urged the government to implement laws that mandate “persons seeking medical care or persons accompanying them to make full disclosure about travels in and out of Nigeria.”

“Failure to do so or concealment or misleading information in that regard, should attract severe punishment. Such provision should also be given the necessary publicity,” he said.

“Concealing information from healthcare personnel could not only be detrimental to the patient but may expose caregivers, other patients and the public to risk of harm or actual harm.

“This was seen in the recent cases of patients that presented at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital whose travel histories were concealed.

“They were later discovered after their deaths that they had recently returned from abroad, a red flag, that could have influenced decisions about their management.”

“Concealing travel history in the circumstances that we are would be an irresponsible and dishonest conduct, which unnecessarily exposes hospital staff, other patients and the public to avoidable risk of COVID-19 infection.

“Having regard to the serious public health jeopardy that the deliberate concealment of relevant information pertaining to COVID-19 exposure poses, patients /accompanying relations should know that they may be liable to criminal prosecution.”

Olajide asked the government to take a cue from the United States “where they have specific laws on HIV transmission and exposure that criminalize a person that is HIV positive exposing another person to the risk of HIV infection through unprotected sex without disclosing his status to the partner.”

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