“Into whatever houses I enter…whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret”
The inference above is the medical Hippocratic oath of secrecy that protects the rights of patients and their medical records from being divulged to a third party. Health and ill-health is often a deeply personal journey and the fear of stigma and shame keeps many sufferers from seeking medical attention. So it is of the utmost importance that personal information shared remains between the patient and the care giver. This medical oath of secrecy has now been flouted by some medical personnel at the Lagos state owned Gbagada General Hospital and is now being used as a political weapon by the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode against the aspiration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu a Governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State.
On Sunday, September 30, 2018 the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode while addressing a press conference at the Lagos house Alausa, took a swipe at Mr. Sanwo-Olu by saying “He doesn’t have the competence to do what he is being propelled to do. This is somebody that has gone for rehabilitation before. The records are there at the Gbagada General Hospital,”. This simply means the state Governor would have either used his position as the Governor to access Mr. Sanwo-Olu medical records or some medical staff at the Gbagada hospital made such records available to the Governor even without requesting for it for political reasons. Irrespective of how the Governor got to know about this medical history, it shows the Gbagada General Hospital committed an infraction by making such information public without the approval of the patient while the decision of the Governor to make such a political point is another low for public communication by elected officers in the country.
I am indifferent to the existing political situation in the state but all I’m saying is that the right of every patient must be respected and protected from third party as contained in the Hippocratic Oath that was sworn to by medical personnel as the release of such information without the patients approval could be damaging. As for the Lagos state Governor, he has committed an infraction that belittle his office.