A Pilot Study Assessing Litigation in Health Care Services in Nigeria
Oyetunde, M O
African journal of medicine and medical sciences 2011 Mar; 40(1): 85-9
Litigation in healthcare system especially in nursing practice is rapidly increasing globally. Litigation affords an individual explanation and compensation for perceived wrong acts. It also serves to control all service providers. However, observation shows that health care providers in Nigeria behave as if they are litigation proof even in the presence of gross malpractice and negligence. The prime concern of this study attempts finding out Nigerians attitudes to litigation. This paper reports the result of the qualitative aspect of the study. In-depth interviews were conducted from January, 2006- March, 2007 for purposive and randomly selected fifty (50) adults from different ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds. The study was carried out in Ibadan, the largest city of Nigeria. The instrument was a semi structured interview guide designed to assess the use of orthodox medical practice by Nigerians; examine Nigerians experience of unethical practice or injustice; identify Nigerians' attitude to litigation in health care practices and identify factors responsible for their attitudes to litigation. Data were analysed using content analysis. The result shows that Nigerians utilize the hospitals and are aware of their rights as consumers of healthcare services but show poor attitudes to litigation for different reasons. This attitude was found to be a function of the prevailing socio-cultural factors in Nigeria. Litigation is at low ebb in Nigeria, health care providers should endeavour to deliver safe and ethically sound care despite the prevailing circumstances. Health care is a fundamental human right and so, should be provided with dignity and people should have access to dignified treatment always.
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