Health  

Medical lab scientists accuse doctors of mismanaging hospitals

Medical-Laboratory-Scientists-of-NigeriaIrked by what they referred to as “a fallacious article purportedly emanating from Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)”, medical laboratory scientists under the aegis of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) have urged Nigerians “ to stand up against the overbearing attitude of the Nigerian medical doctors and tell them the naked truth that they have mismanaged themselves, the medical team as well as the hospital.”

According to a statement signed by AMLSN President, Mr Toyosi Raheem and Public Relations Officer, Mr.Tam Adetunji and made available to The Guardian, the medical laboratory scientists urged medical doctors to “abide by the recent judicial pronouncements in favour of medical laboratory scientists and or other professionals in health sector or risk imprisonment for contempt of court.”

The statement is a response of the recent media outburst titled Public Hospitals Are Dead, Doctors Warn where NMA urged her members not to use any medical tests not signed by either pathologists or radiologists.

The statement read in part: “Nigerians should now clearly know who has killed or is killing the public hospitals and making health services to be out of reach of the masses. Health services which are inalienable rights or social services to the masses by any caring governments at all levels, are now being recommended for privatisation and commercialisation by NMA, out of selfish interest, ego and disregard for professionalism in health sector.

“The strong advocacy for PPP (public-private partnership) by NMA is perhaps to make some of the NMA members richer through commissions and inducements which such private investors usually give them as a reward for sending patients (or patients’ samples) to private laboratories, X-ray centers, pharmacies etc.

Some of them would not even refer patients to centres that would not give them returns in form of rebates or commissions. This, usually, is at the expense of the poor masses. That could be a major reason why the public hospitals are being killed by members of NMA.

They are in actual fact, the ones killing the public hospitals. Yet, they cry foul that the public hospitals are dead! Some of them even refer cases that could be rather managed in Nigeria to foreign hospitals due to likely commissions for patronage. Thus, encouraging and promoting unnecessary and avoidable medical tourism. Insistence on their rights and privileges by other professionals in the health sector cannot be attributable to death of public hospitals as NMA attempted to portray.”

The statement continued: “NMA went ultra vires in their write-ups directing their colleagues not to use results of completed medical laboratory tests performed, reviewed and signed by licensed medical laboratory scientists but not counter-signed by pathologists who professionally, contributed nothing to the generation of such results.

“Let Nigerians ask NMA to display the law that empowers them to conduct laboratory tests, sign laboratory results or supervise medical laboratories. Nigerians should also ask them if they are registered and licensed by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) to do the work of medical laboratory scientists. As it stands today, only MLSCN is saddled with the task of inspection, monitoring, accrediting, and regulating the practice of medical laboratory science in both public and private hospitals in Nigeria.

“Funny enough, the enabling law for Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), which is the regulatory body for all medical doctors in Nigeria, does not give MDCN power to inspect, monitor or accredit clinics and hospitals (which they should have requested to have, at least, to flush out substandard hospitals and clinics that are daily killing innocent Nigerians). Yet, pathologists through NMA, erroneously deceived Nigerians that MDCN had power to regulate clinical laboratory practice whereas the MDCN law only empowers them to regulate clinical laboratory practicals for the purpose of teaching medical students in the field of pathology.

“While we are aware that NMA is attempting to alter the word Practicals in their enabling law to practice, we anxiously await them to do that and use the wrath of the laws of the land to sweep them to prison for attempted forgery and twisting the law of the land to achieve illegal goal for their members. NMA and her cohorts must be told that there is always an end to impunity.

“The fact is that, medical laboratory scientists and other health professionals are distinct and separate from medical doctors whose profession is medicine/surgery. It has been clearly pronounced by various courts of competent jurisdictions that the era when medical doctors treat other health professionals as ‘errand boys’ and ‘girls’ or ‘slaves’ is gone and gone forever and that every profession, especially Medical Laboratory Science is separate, distinct and autonomous from medicine/surgery; capable of administering, supervising and heading their practice.”



8 Comments
  • Yomi Newton

    Let’s face the reality ! Solution is simple , every profession can practice based on his/ her interests. If as a Med. Doctor you want to conduct tests , then go to MLSCN for necessary registration while as MLS and still interested in MBBS , I will go back and study medicine. We have quite a number that crisscrossed and happily relating to dual even multi- professional associateship. We need not downgrade others to play supersavers when the truth is that the teamship of knowledge is the succour we need now not mudslinging. How do you appreciate the scenario of family with MLS, MBBS, Dip.PATHO, should they disrespect their input as professionals and will not take result from daughter who is MLS and insists on having the brother’s signature before the mother is treated? Your guess is as good! The patient’s interest should be considered above all matters. Each professiona should be given her rightful code of existence!

  • Ace

    The industrial court essentially made Pathologists/Haematologists redundant. The court gave lab scientists the power to do tests and interprete lab results without clinical supervision. This squarely puts the public in grave danger, every lab result is now put into question. Very soon lawsuits will start to fly and lab scientists trying to steal the role of clinical personel will be thrown into jail for malpractice.

    • George

      That is absolutely not true when you take your time to read the judgement of the honourable court. Rather, we must understand that Pathologists who specialise in haematology have only found themselves pushed to tertiary health centres by their own colleagues – the Clinicians. Meanwhile, those specialist are suppose to run specialise clinics like their fellow clinical consultants – like sickle cells clinics, Diabetes & Endocrinology and Oncology clinics but they are constantly denied such by their own colleagues. It is for this reason that Pathologist often find themselves at logger head with Medical Lab Scientist claiming to boss them. So they are not redundant because of the judgement but by their own colleagues who choose not to consult/use them when the need arise.

  • George

    The directive and altitude of our doctors based on the NMA statement clearly reveal that the health of the Nigerian patients do not matter to them but just the commission and money they collect illegally.

  • Emmanuel Francis Eto-Abasi

    Well,
    I believe the roles are clear. The MLS has professional expertise in the fabrication, use, and maintance of the laboratory instrumentations. They can advice the hospital and doctors on merits, demerits, procurement and practical application of laboratory tools or modalities. But, in the real sense, I believe that only pathologist (ie the doctors ) have the requisite training to draw clinical conclusions from laboratory results. Pathologists are specially trained to understand different disease entities and their respective laboratory outlook. So, let the MLS man the lab, and let the pathologist interpret the result.
    Interpretation and issuance of results goes beyond what is written on paper, in climes where litigations abound, often times the pathologist is called upon to defend the validity of results because they are the professionals with the required skill for such. I maintain that the pathologist should respect and appreciate the professional input of every MLS. The lack of this respect and appreciation is the cause of the problems in the health sector.
    Same line of thoughts for the radiographer-radiologist dichotomy. The Rgrapher mans, operates and maintains the gadgets, the Rlogist simply interprets the results and give clinical judgement based on the history and features in the patient.
    Honestly there is no need for all the fights. There enough room for all to express their professionalism.
    Doctors should respect other healthcare professionals.

  • Simeon Fashanu

    I have performed the tests. I have the results. I have recorded them. I have been trained to do this. I should put my signature on what I have done. If Doctors cannot read and interpret the results, too bad. So if the Doctors need the Pathologists (also Doctors) to interpret the results, then, they should employ them in their clinics, NOT the Laboratories. Have you forgotten that Medical Lab Scientists are also specialists, some of whom had PhDs. Also note that Lab Scietists were rated higher than fresh doctors before The Udoji Awards in 1974?

    • Emmanuel Francis Eto-Abasi

      Good point sir,
      The MLS should sign the result to indicate and vet that the laboratory process followed standard procedures and universally within acceptable guidelines. And can be called upon to respond to questions in this regard at any level or platform even during litigations.
      The pathologist should report on the clinical implications of the results and proffer guided professional opinion to the physician /surgeon in arriving at diagnosis. This is particularly important in certain diseases that pose tough diagnostic challenges. He should sign the clinical report.
      There are some disease entities whose diagnoses are straight forward hence lab figures and result would suffice. There quite a number that require some conferencing btw physicians and pathologists; for these sure we need report on clinical correlations.
      In other words, the MLS takes care of standards and laboratory procedures, the pathologist essentially for clinical correlation. These respectively reflect what they’ve been trained to do.

  • Emmanuel Francis Eto-Abasi

    The MLS should sign the result to indicate and vet that the laboratory process followed standard procedures and universally within acceptable guidelines. And can be called upon to respond to questions in this regard at any level or platform even during litigations.
    The pathologist should report on the clinical implications of the results and proffer guided professional opinion to the physician /surgeon in arriving at diagnosis. This is particularly important in certain diseases that pose tough diagnostic challenges. He should sign the clinical report.
    There are some disease entities whose diagnoses are straight forward hence lab figures and result would suffice. There quite a number that require some conferencing btw physicians and pathologists; for these sure we need report on clinical correlations.
    In other words, the MLS takes care of standards and laboratory procedures, the pathologist essentially for clinical correlation. These respectively reflect what they’ve been trained to do..

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