The recent attack on a doctor in Dhule has brought to fore the aspect of security for medical professionals and the rising incidents of doctor-patient friction.
Two days after an orthopaedic doctor of Dhule civil hospital was thrashed by a patient’s relatives after a quarrel over alleged medical negligence, medical students have declared a mass boycott of classes on Friday in protest. The youth wing of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra and the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) have organised the protest.
Terrified resident doctors have demanded more security on campus. “The CCTV footage shows how brutally the doctor was assaulted. The visuals are terrifying and the degree of the attack has scared many of us,” said Swapnil Meshram, a third-year resident doctor from JJ Hospital.
Students on medical campuses are raising the issue of lack of ‘well-trained’ security personnel. “Most medical campuses lack well-trained security guards. How can doctors concentrate on treating patients when they are concerned about self-defence?,” asked Meshram.
Yashovardhan Kabra from KEM Hospital agreed with Meshram. “Medical education is a long and tiring process. Doctors are overwhelmed with work. Attacks on doctors only add to their pressure,” said Kabra.
Aniket Gaikwad from Sion Hospital said that most colleges didn’t have a Rapid Action Force. “The forces should be in place to ensure quick intervention in cases of attack,” said Gaikwad.
Another concern for the doctors is the poor implementation of the Doctors Protection Act. Offenders are booked under the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Act, 2010, commonly referred to as the Doctor’s Protection Act (DPA). “There have been 45 cases registered under the Act so far but none of the accused have been brought to book,” said Meshram.
Dhule doctor in ICU
The orthopaedic doctor who was assaulted by a mob in Dhule Civil Hospital was transferred to the intensive care unit of Jupiter Hospital in Thane Wednesday. According to doctors, Dr Rohan Mhamunkar has suffered an orbital fracture and an undisplaced fracture in the skull and may require a surgery. Mhamunkar had suffered several blows of rods wielded by a mob of over 20 people in the Dhule Civil Hospital on March 12, leading to multiple contusions. Dr Niharika Mehta, who checked Mhamunkar in Dhule, said in her report that his soft brain tissues were swollen in the right frontal region. A CT scan showed the sphenoid bone, situated in the middle of the skull, was also fractured.
“He was brought to the hospital late last night (Tuesday). Doctors have examined him and he continues to remain under observation in ICU,” said Dr Ajay Thakkar, CEO at Jupiter Hospital. Mhamunkar’s colleagues, however, said he was slated for a “craniotomy surgery”. The Dhule police had arrested nine persons in the case. They were all relatives of a 25-year-old accident victim who had been brought to the hospital but was referred to another hospital for want of a neurosurgeon.
Police say more offenders identified, arrests soon
The Dhule police Thursday claimed to have identified several people who vandalised the Dhule civil hospital and thrashed an orthopaedic doctor. Search for those identified is on and arrests are likely, officers said.
According to the Dhule police superintendent, the nine persons already arrested have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for attempt to murder and for assaulting a public servant, along with sections of the Maharashtra Medical Act. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also instructed the police to take strict action in the case and propose ways of ensuring security of doctors.