Abused, Attacked, Beaten: Frontline Workers Are Risking Their Lives Everyday In India

"We, as healthcare professionals, are not as scared of infections as we are of being assaulted and abused by the very community we treat," a doctor's association wrote.

Ever since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, amid the fear and panic surrounding the novel virus, there has been an alarming number of attacks on healthcare professionals across India.

While the frontline workers are putting their lives at risk and fighting the outbreak head-on, many people across the country are not valuing the healthcare workers' immense efforts and life.

On April 16, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting him to implement the 'Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property), Bill'.

The letter pointed out that despite a home ministry advisory to ensure protection to doctors, multiple instances of violence have been reported across the country.

Stating that such incidents had become an unforeseen 'occupational hazard', the RDA said, "We, as healthcare professionals, are not as scared of infections as we are of being assaulted and abused by the very community we treat."

The RDA also pointed out 7 such instances of violence against healthcare workers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. From doctors being assaulted in hospital premises to healthcare workers getting beaten up while screening residents for COVID-19, the seven are part of many such incidents that have shaken the country in recent times.

1. Stones Pelted At Duty Doctors In Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh

A team of doctors and medical staff had reached Moradabad's Nawabganj area to take primary contacts of a deceased COVID-19 patient when a mob pelted stones at the ambulance and medical staff on Wednesday, April 15.

The police van, which came to rescue the health workers, was also targetted. Three people, including a doctor and a pharmacist, suffered injuries in the attack.

Following the attack, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the police to book the accused under the stringent National Security Act(NSA). At least 17 persons, including seven women, have been arrested for pelting stones on the health workers and police.

2. Patients Assault Woman Doctor In Delhi's Lok Nayak Hospital

A woman doctor was allegedly assaulted by a patient inside a surgical ward, at Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi, on Tuesday, April 14. The incident took place in the evening, where the woman and the accompanying doctor were manhandled by patients, due to which they had to hide inside the duty room and call the security.

In a letter to the Medical Officer, RDA stated that the patient started abusing and allegedly passed vulgar comments to the woman doctor on duty. When the doctor objected, the patient gathered other patients in the ward and threatened the doctors and other medical staff.

3. Two Women Resident Doctors Assaulted By A Man In Delhi

Two women resident doctors of Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital were allegedly assaulted by their neighbour late on Wednesday, April 8, who accused them of "spreading" COVID-19 in Gautam Nagar area.

The incident took place around 9:30 pm when both the doctors had stepped out of their house to buy fruits. The 44-year-old man allegedly harassed the women doctors for not being inside their house and accused them of spreading coronavirus.

4. Doctors In Hyderabad Hospital Attacked By Family Of Man Who Died Due To COVID-19

The family of a person who died due to coronavirus allegedly attacked two doctors at the Gandhi Medical Hospital in Hyderabad on Wednesday, April 1.

The assaulter, who himself is a COVID-19 patient, not only attacked a resident doctor on duty after his brother died, but also broke a window at the hospital.

5. Healthcare Workers Attacked By Mob In Indore

Healthcare workers and civic officials were beaten up by angry locals in a neighbourhood located in Indore, in Madhya Pradesh on April 1, during their visit to screen residents for signs of the novel coronavirus infection, COVID-19.

According to an NDTV report, two women doctors were injured in the attack and had to be rescued by police. In the video of the incident that has surfaced online, a mob of about 100 angry residents can be seen shouting abuses, throwing sticks and stones and chasing the healthcare workers down the lane.

6. Surat Doctor 'Threatened' By Apartment Residents For Travelling To Hospital

In Surat, Gujarat, a healthcare professional at the New Civil hospital was accused and threatened by her apartment residents for travelling to work, on Monday, March 23.

When the doctor had returned from work on Monday night, eight to ten residents of our apartment, including our RWA president, warned her about going out.

7. Hyderabad Doctor Attacked By Suspected COVID-19 Patient's Son

On April 14, a doctor in Hyderabad's Osmania General Hospital was allegedly assaulted by the son of a man under quarantine at a hospital following a quarrel after two others in the ward tested positive for the infection.

8. Police Allegedly Slapped A Doctor In Bharatpur, Rajasthan

SDM and police officer allegedly slapped and insulted a doctor in Government Medical College Bharatpur under RBM Hospital on April 11.

According to reports, the doctor was returning to the hostel after finishing his shift, when the police personnel allegedly stopped him and attacked him with a stick.

9. Two Resident Doctors In Bhopal Thrashed By Policemen

Two resident doctors of AIIMS Bhopal were thrashed by a few policemen when they were returning home after duty on April 8. According to reports, one of the doctors suffered a fracture in his hand and the other suffered an injury to the leg.

The police allegedly hit them with sticks for violating the lockdown, despite the doctors producing their identification cards.

10. ASHA Worker On COVID-19 Duty Attacked In Bengaluru

An Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker, was allegedly manhandled by a group of 40-50 people in Sadiq Nagar of Sarayipalya, Bengaluru on April 1, when she was carrying out surveillance to collect data on suspected COVID-19 case.

The group also snatched the worker's documents, mobile phones, and other valuables.

Also Read: COVID-19: Stones Pelted At Duty Doctors, Cops In Moradabad, CM Yogi Invokes NSA

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Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh
By : Reethu Ravi

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