On May 28, the resident doctors of government-run Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Delhi went on an indefinite strike after a mob held hostage a paediatrician and attacked doctors who tried to come to his rescue.
This is not an isolated incident
On May 25, an orthopaedic student was beaten up by a patient’s relatives at the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.
A patient was brought in critical condition yesterday and was taken in OT for emergency surgery by Orthopaedic Department, Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. Sadly patient expired in the OT. Four relatives entered the OT forcefully & abused the doctors. They also Beat up one orthopaedic student. All while security guards and police were watching. My friends have informed me that all residents of civil hospital are on strike today. OT is a sterile area. No one other than operating doctor and supportive staff should be allowed entry. What If other patients in OT get infected? Who will be responsible? Doctors?How can doctors operate patients if they are scared that someone will force they way in their OT and beat them up?
Posted by Assault on Doctors on Friday, May 25, 2018
On May 19, two resident doctors were beaten by a patient’s relative in Mumbai’s JJ hospital.
These are the four who assaulted doctors at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital. Police has arrested them. They are relatives of a deceased patient Zaida Sheikh.
Watch the video to know how brutal they were, hope they are punished severely. pic.twitter.com/cee6hVvYwO
— Singh Varun (@singhvarun) May 20, 2018
On May 11, doctors took part in a silent march to protest against the attacks on doctors, the latest being the assault on a doctor in Uttarpara
On April 6, a senior resident doctor at Delhi government’s Sushrut Trauma Centre was beaten up by a patient’s relatives
On February 27, two resident doctors were assaulted by a patient’s kin at the Delhi government’s biggest medical institute, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).
There are many more such incidents just in 2018.
Are these doctors guilty of negligence?
We have all encountered doctors who were lax with their duties but, generalising a whole profession as negligent or violently attacking them is not the answer. These doctors who are getting brutally and mercilessly assaulted are usually Junior Residents. A Junior Resident is a 20-something youth, who first managed to get through the competitive MBBS entrance exam, then spent five and a half years pursuing the MBBS degree, then after clearing one more exam, gets posted as a resident. As a resident, his or her duties and responsibilities are numerous. Apart from working 36 hours shifts, a JR has to study for his own exams.
A Junior Resident working at a renowned private hospital in Delhi said to The Logical Indian, “We understand the pain of the patient’s family and friends. We don’t even blame them for their anger, but it is misplaced. There are bad apples in every profession, but what about the rest of the doctors who have sacrificed so much. The government hospitals have a serious lack of infrastructure, and the private hospitals are run like money-making machines. The money ends up in the hands of the hospital administration, while the doctors who are trying their best to save lives, even at the cost of their own health, face the brunt of the anger.“
He adds, “The need of the hour is a monitoring body which can implement disease or situation based protocols and penalise those who don’t adhere to the protocols. As of now, hospital accreditation in case of private hospitals is based on infrastructure, but there is a lot of ambiguity and outdated information floating around when it comes to disease-situation handling. We need to build people’s trust in doctors again.”
A single mistake can be the difference between life and death. Suppose, due to a mistake or mere circumstance, a patient dies. That death will haunt the doctor for the rest of his life, although s/he has to carry on working because there are many more lives which still can be saved.
Do you want to be 20-something years old and carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? And, yet, these people have persevered through sweat, blood and tears in order to be able to save lives.
Does the government care about the doctors?
In April 2018, PM Modi said, in a ‘Bharat ki Baat’ public interaction in London, that doctors in India are travelling to foreign countries to take part in conferences which are funded by big pharmaceutical companies. He went to suggest the corruption among doctors and pharma companies leads to high prices of drugs. JIbe after jibe on doctors, but not one word was said condemning the repeated assaults on doctors.
A Senior Resident at a prestigious government medical institute in Lucknow said to The Logical Indian, “Of course there is some corruption. The apex medical bodies in India are also responsible for this. The PM should address the infrastructure issues and increase spending on healthcare. His remarks made on foreign soil have hurt the honest Indian doctors. Moreover, many conferences are highly prestigious and it takes a lot of effort to get selected for them. ”
Following the PM’s comments, the Indian Medical Association has allegedly released a video which contains video footages of several assaults on doctors. Also, the video compares the healthcare spending and facilities available in India with those in USA, and China.
The Logical Indian Take
In 2015, Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan’s blog post titled, ‘’Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India’’ paints an apt picture of Indía’s medical system. Radhakrishna, an anesthesiologist in Kerala, points out in his blog that, “The Indian Medical Association confirmed in May 2015 that over 75% of the doctors in India have faced some form of violence at the patient’s hands in India.”
The above image shows how much hard work goes into becoming a doctor. What India needs is more planned public sector expenditure on healthcare. We need more doctors, more equipment, more trained assistants, timely delivery of medicines and clear protocols. What we don’t need is the violence against doctors.