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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Inaugural lecture: Don advocates ascription of ‘property’ to body, parts

By Sade Adewale, Ondo

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A Professor of Health Law and Policy, Prof. Leroy Chuma Edozien has recommended that the human body and its parts should be recognised and respected as patient’s property when health professionals offer treatment.

Edozien stated this in the second inaugural Lecture, theme “‘My Body is My Property: Property Rights in the Body, Body parts and Particles’ held at New Lecture Theatre, Laje Medical Village Campus, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City.

According to him, a patient’s right to self- determination could be afforded better protection by regarding his/her bodily integrity and his/her legitimate expectations as constituting property rights”, he started.

The Speaker said that property is not limited to tangible such as land, house, car and other personal possessions but also encompasses intangibles such as intellectual property, shares in companies, patents, energy and one’s person.

“Applying this to body parts, it could be argued that one’s kidney is not property while it is in vivo but could be property when it has been removed from the body and sperm could be property once it had been ejaculated,” he added.

Edozien described medical law as a branch of law that pertains to the interactions between doctors and patients. It is also a relatively new but swiftly growing field of law.

He recommended that the health professions should take the lead in pushing for legislation in the country to comprehensively address issues pertaining to tissues removal, storage and use; disposition of gametes; organ donation and organ transplantation; in respect of both living and dead persons.

Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi said that in the new age, people are donating and freezing their sperm and egg and the law in Nigeria must advance to recognise and address the new development.

According to him, the lecture is speaking to evolution of law in the country and what medical professionals most do to be in forefront of promoting it and advancing the law.

He further said that the lecture is to help undergraduate in what they will become in term of human reproduction and to give insight into what the future will be.

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