BENGALURU:, JANUARY 13, 2017 00:11 IST

UPDATED: JANUARY 13, 2017 00:11 IST

The attack on doctors at the ICU of Chigateri district hospital in Davangere on Wednesday has yet again highlighted the vulnerability of medical professionals despite the laws meant to protect them.

Although the State government has put in place the Karnataka Prohibition of Violence against Medicare Service Personnel and Damage to Property in Medicare Service Institutions Act, 2009, hardly any cases are being booked under it. Doctors say the Act remains only on paper.

The Davangere incident, where doctors were attacked by the relatives of a four-month-old baby who died of meningitis, comes close on the heels of an assault on doctors by Ananthkumar Hegde, BJP MP from Uttara Kannada, at a hospital in Sirsi.

Protesting against the attack, doctors in Davangere, including those from private hospitals, boycotted outpatient services and attended to only emergency cases on Thursday.

Following the MP’s assault, members of the State unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association, and other doctors’ organisations had met Home Minister G. Parameshwara and Director General and Inspector General of Police Om Prakash seeking effective implementation of Act. “Although the Minister and the DG&IGP directed all police stations to henceforth book attacks on doctors under the Act, the jurisdictional police are reluctant to do so as they say they cannot book cases under a State Act. Since 2009, only three cases have been booked under the Act, including the one in Davangere,” said T.A. Veerabhadraiah, member of the Karnataka Medical Council.

He said the council would soon adopt a resolution demanding effective implementation of the Act and send it to the government.

Ravindra H.N., president-elect of IMA, Karnataka chapter, said, “This has demoralised the medical fraternity, which has become a soft target for hooligans. Such incidents, if allowed to continue unchecked, can have serious repercussions on patient care. It is because of this that our doctors are reluctant to serve in rural areas,” he said.

However, Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, told The Hindu, “Such attacks have occurred both in urban and rural areas, in both government and private hospitals.”

Saying that the government was doing everything possible to initiate action against the offenders, she said the Davangere Deputy Commissioner has booked a case and two persons have been arrested. Meanwhile, Nagesh Shetty, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sirsi sub-division, said the MP was still “untraceable” and two teams have been formed to look into the case.

Courtesy: The Hindu


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