In every profession, practitioners are inevitably prone to making mistakes. Picture this: A tailor, carried away in their craft, may inadvertently snip the wrong section of fabric, much like a plumber who encounters an unexpected twist while repairing pipes.
Yet, let’s acknowledge the gravity of these errors. In some vocations, a minor slip-up can be brushed aside, but in others, it carries an ominous weight that can never be undone.
Enter the realm of healthcare, where the stakes are immeasurable. Medical and health workers find themselves perched on a precipice where negligence can shatter lives beyond repair.
Defined by the Free Dictionary, medical negligence represents the improper, unskilled, or neglectful treatment of a patient, a grievous error that can resonate through generations.
In this world, the clarion call is clear: Patient safety reigns supreme. It’s not merely a catchphrase but a relentless commitment to safeguarding lives, upholding unwavering standards of care, and nurturing a culture of accountability.
Patient safety is the tapestry woven from various threads – the meticulous prevention of medical blunders, the solemn vow to reduce harm, the art of effective communication, the empowerment of patients, and the nurturing of a safety-first ethos within healthcare citadels.
On the occasion of World Patient Safety Day, themed “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety,” the spotlight falls on the unsung heroes – patients, families, and caregivers – who hold the key to healthcare’s safety.
Meet Ms. Nkechi Akande, a school teacher turned unwitting patient. She walked into a hospital, blissfully unaware of the tempest ahead. Negligence became her uninvited companion, turning a routine procedure into a harrowing odyssey of suffering and multiple surgeries.
But the agony transcended the physical realm; it was a mental and emotional maelstrom. Anxiety, depression, and a trust deficit in the healthcare system took root. Yet, from this crucible of despair emerged a fierce advocate for patient safety.
Nkechi Akande refused to be broken. She transformed her anguish into a force for change. Her story reverberates, raising awareness about the indispensable value of precise hospital protocols, rigorous staff training, and patient empowerment.
Hand in hand with patient safety organizations, she tirelessly champions the cause, ensuring hospitals prioritize patient well-being, erecting bulwarks against future tragedies.
Nkechi’s journey serves as a poignant reminder of the shadow that hospital negligence casts upon countless lives in Nigeria, a silent epidemic that often eludes the public eye.
Experts weigh in, attributing this growing concern to Nigeria’s vast population, urging the need for robust patient safety policies and infrastructure to uphold healthcare quality.
While the spotlight on patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic initially shone brightly, it has dimmed as the threat receded. Some seek legal redress, while others quietly move forward. Yet, the law stands as a safeguard for patient rights, awaiting more comprehensive regulation.
Dr. Henry Okeke underscores the need for legislators to fortify patient safety, emphasizing the link between health laws and patient well-being.
In this symphony of voices, Ducit Blue Solutions emerges as a proponent of patient safety. They advocate for a Patient Safety Programme Board, tasked with strategic education delivery and the provision of high-quality resources to staff.
The government, too, raises its voice. Dr. Shetak Gilbert, from the Federal Ministry of Health, unveils the National Policy and Implementation Strategy on Patient Safety and care quality. This policy aligns with global directives, focusing on enhancing multiple facets of patient safety.
Mohammed Usman, Chairman of the National Advocates for Health (NA4H), acknowledges the strides made in improving patient safety. Still, he acknowledges the road ahead, marred by resource constraints, infrastructure inadequacies, and systemic issues. Yet, he remains resolute that with unwavering commitment, collaboration, and evidence-based practices, Nigerian patient safety will ascend, promising brighter healthcare outcomes for all.