Kerala: Law to curb attacks on doctors draws a blank

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Doctors say that there is no question of defending medical negligence and such lapses should be accounted for.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Four years have passed since the state government brought a law to protect doctors and medical institutions but it has not been effectively enforced by the law enforcing agency

Under the Kerala Health Service Persons and Health Care Services Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property)Act 2012, attack on a duty doctor, a hospital or its staff would invite an imprisonment of up to three years and fine of Rs 50,000.

But the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) and Kerala Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) the two major doctors’ organisations in the health service sector and medical college sector respectively, allege that the law mostly on paper.

Had the government enforced the law stringently, incidents like the very recent attack on doctor at Arookuty health centre would not have happened, the associations believe.

“Even cops, lawyers have bare minimum knowledge about the law. Its high time awareness is created among people, professionals and law enforcing agencies. Boards displaying details of the provisions of law, stringent punishment and penal action, needs to be put up at vantage points especially outside casualty wing where normally violent incidents happen,” said Dr K A Raoof, general secretary Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA).

Under the law act of violence is described as; injuring, endangering life, intimidating or obstructing health care giver. Registered medical practitioners functioning out of medical institutions, nursing professionals and para medics all come under the category of health staff.

Doctors say that there is no question of defending medical negligence and such lapses should be accounted for. But violence is no solution. “Mob attacks, assaults on doctors and hospital staff needg to be dealt with sternly. We are for strict enforcement of the law,” said Dr Vijayan, president of KGMCTA which represents all government medical college doctors.

Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

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