Mangaluru, May 22: Doctors, paramedical professionals and medical students from across the district and even Udupi on Monday May 22 marched in protest against the recent assault and kidnap of a doctor, and demanded the government and the authorities concerned to take measures to ensure safety of doctors.
On May 16, Dr Abhijith Shetty of Yenepoya Medical College and Hospital was allegedly dragged from the ICU, assaulted and kidnapped by a mob after a patient who was admitted to the hospital passed away. He was rescued by his colleagues with the help of the police, and three accused have been arrested so far.
The protest called by Mangaluru chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) began with a march from Dr Ambedkar circle to Nehru Maidan here. Thousands of professionals and students from medical and paramedical sectors expressed their ire over the assault and demanded justice. The partial bandh saw closure of medical services in the city, but emergency services and ICUs functioned normally.
Addressing the protest, IMA Mangaluru president Dr Raghavendra Bhat said, “In the year 2009, law was formalised making attacks on doctors a non-bailable offence, and punishable as a criminal case, but so far not even one culprit has been charged under this law. There have been several attacks on doctors including in Dharwad where an MLA thrashed a doctor, but now he has become a minister.
“Every now and then politicians pass suggestions that doctors should speak to patients, but none of them has raised a voice against such assaults. This is shameful. Such incidents disturb our profession and we are unable to work fearlessly. So far only eight people have been arrested in Yenepoya assault case, where are the others?” he questioned.
“Mangaluru being a medical hub, this is a big insult to our proffession. It should never repeat. The government is sleeping and we need to wake it up. This is for the first time that we are gathering in such large numbers. This unity should last,” he added.
Pro chancellor NITTE University Dr Shantharam Shetty said, “We have gathered in large numbers on a sad note when of our colleagues was manhandled and humiliated by 40 men. We need to tell the general public and the politicians how pained and saddenend we are as medical fraternity. This has been a peacefull protest as only outpatient departments have closed. Today we showed our strength by gathering in large numbers. We treat patients as our brothers and sisters, then how can we be negligent? It is not the relatives of patients but goons who come in and manhandle doctors.”
The protesting doctors led by IMA also submitted a memorandum to the DC urging for quick investigation into the Yenepoya case and measures to prevent such incidents in future.
Doctors and management representatives from various private hospitals, including Dr K R Kamath, Fr Richard Coelho, Fr Rudolph, Dr Ananth Prasad, Dr Divakar Rao, Dr Bharath Shetty, Dr Sathish Bhat and others were present.
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