| TNN | Updated: Jan 16, 2017, 06.02 AM IST
BENGALURU: Three assaults on doctors in a week, allegedly by relatives of patients, have only proved that the Karnataka Prohibition of Violence against Medicare Service Personneland Damage to Property in Medicare Service Institutions Act, 2009 lacks teeth, say doctors in Bengaluru.
The attacks were reported from Hassan Institute of Medical Science; TSS Hospital in Sirsi and JJM Medical College in Davanagere. Terming the acts barbaric and shameful, the doctors have not only demanded that the government take strict action against the offenders, but also pointed to the possibility of medical fraternity resorting to defensive medicine and showing reluctance in taking risks to treat patients.
“The recent years have seen a rise in attacks on doctors and medical establishments. While the issue has several facets to it, the impact it may have is worrying. Doctors will start practising defensive medicine and focus on safeguarding themselves from patients’ families, instead of taking risks and recommending the best treatment required,” said Dr Vishal Rao U S, a noted oncologist and member of State High Powered Committee of Tobacco Control.
“Every time such an incident occurs, it hurts the very soul of art and science of medicine, demotivating the entire fraternity. Healing a patient’s wound is a doctor’s foremost duty, but it’s equally vital for him to maintain his dignity and stand for his rights when he performs the act of service,” Dr Rao added.
The existing law to protect doctors and medical institutions was introduced in Karnataka in 2009. Section 3 of the law makes any attack on doctors or hospital property a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Although the director general of police had, on request from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), issued an order to police across the state to strictly implement the law, it has hardly made a difference in reality, claim doctors.
“Although the law protecting medical fraternity and institutions has been passed in Parliament as well as in the state, the problem is with inappropriate enforcement. Following repeated violence against doctors, many hospitals, including us, will put up notices on our premises and the same will be signed by the police commissioner and superintendent of police. The notice, which can be both in English and Kannada, will inform patients’ relatives that taking law in their own hands is punishable,” said Dr Sudarshan Ballal, chairman, Manipal Hospitals.
“There must be a rigorous campaign by the people, media and government for stricter implementation of the law. Offenders deserve exemplary punishment. They must understand that vandalizing hospitals or beating up doctors isn’t a solution to the problem. There are forums like consumer courts where they can place their grievances,” he added.
Doctors working in government hospitals attend to a whopping number of patients, sometimes beyond their physical and mental limits. However, they often get assaulted by patients’ attenders and hardly see justice, claimed the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute .
“Often, there’s not enough security at the casualty ward and no limit to the number of attenders. At times, there’s complete lack of security during odd hours of the night. Doctors sacrifice their sleep, food and personal life for patients. It’s not much to ask for security during duty hours and a safe workplace. ” said Dr Abhishek Saxena, a resident doctor at Victoria Hospital.
Courtesy: The Times of India
Link – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/law-protecting-doctors-only-on-paper-say-medicos/articleshow/56575130.cms