A COVID patient attacked a doctor with a saline stand after the latter asked him to wear an oxygen mask at a hospital in Maharashtra's Alibag. The patient was admitted to a government-run hospital at Alibaug in Maharashtra's Raigad district and was undergoing treatment for COVID.
The doctor had asked the patient not to remove his oxygen mask which angered the patient. Later, the patient sneaked up on the doctor who was sitting on a chair and started hitting him on his head with a saline stand, police said. Swapnadeep Thale, the doctor, was seriously injured in the incident and was later admitted to the same hospital for treatment.
The patient had been admitted to the hospital four days ago. The police, however, are yet to determine the reason for the attack, reported The Independent. The patient has been charged with assault.
Healthcare Workers Are Under Attack
The incident comes in the backdrop of instances of healthcare workers being under attack by family members of those who have passed away due to COVID. Doctors have protested and gone on strike demanding stricter laws. In April this year, about seven to eight hospital employees, including doctors, of Apollo Hospital in New Delhi's Sarita Vihar were injured after allegedly being attacked by relatives of a COVID-19 patient, who had died. The hospital declined to press any charges.
In June, a junior doctor was brutally attacked at a COVID care center in Hojai district of Assam by a mob and relatives of a COVID-19 patient who had died. Many such instances have been reported from other states.
Does The Law Protect Them?
Last September, the Parliament passed the Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020, bringing in a rule that punishes those who attack health workers or doctors fighting the coronavirus outbreak or during any situation like the current COVID-19 pandemic. It provides for up to five years imprisonment for those who attack doctors and health care personnel.
Medics in India are also coming under attack through a series of litigations claiming 'negligence' on the part of doctors for deaths that have occurred in hospitals. The litigants have cited 'negligence' in coronavirus cases.