Assault on doctors

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28 Jun 2016 - General

I am unsure if the international healthcare community is aware about this unique problem in the Indian society. I agree that in the fast life of today, stress levels are very high and tolerance levels are low. There is always a need to prove your superiority over your fellow men. People may resort to astonishing measures to do this.

It has happened at government hospitals and also at private clinics or hospitals. Patients may belong to any socio-economic status, but they often tend to neglect their symptoms and come to consult a doctor when things have really gone very bad. Another scenario is when there is rapid progression of disease and fast deterioration of the patient's general condition. Sometimes it may be a bad road -traffic accident.

When a patient succumbs to a lethal illness, an unfortunate accident or a neglected condition, patient's relatives get rowdy and manhandle the treating doctor and cause destruction of the premises. Multiple such events have occurred in the past six months in different places in order India. At times it has happened that the relatives were co-operative, but some other persons have entered the scenario to extract some political mileage out of it. A small number of doctors have even lost their lives in such circumstances. 

The government had to make a rule giving strict punishment, fine and imprisonment for such assaulterst, but the number of such incidents has not decreased. The treating doctor is afraid to treat such critical patients because he often considers the dire consequences which may occur in the unfortunate event that the patient succumbs. Doctors have also petitioned the government to allow them to bear firearms at their disposal to be ready to counter such mischief-mongers.

Has anyone encountered a similar predicament in other countries? If so, how was it tackled?

The firearms would be with the security personnel like you see outside any bank or shopping mall. The mere presence of security personnel would detract people from causing such a menace. As far as the issue of counselor goes, it has been observed that the treating doctor is the best counsellor because he has the best opportunity to get in touch with the relatives. Often there would be a group of doctors handling this situation. The hue and cry is not raised by the immediate relatives who are e...
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Have been reading about such incidents and they are truly sad. I agree it’s an important issue to be addressed, however I completely disagree with the idea of Dr’s having firearms. Just having firearms and acting out won’t solve the problem. Thought of better security can reduce such incidents. Such incidents occur as relatives of patients are overwhelmed and act out. Situation for them is very emotional and aggression is just a way to fight with reality and also blaming someone is the first d...
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Although doctors are respected in India too, sadly this situation still exists. I agree that bearing firearms is not the answer to this problem. Yes, hospitals have resorted to keeping extra security personnel at their disposal in sensitive areas of the hospitals like the ICU or casualty. A number of respectable doctors have resorted to writing articles in newspapers about this menace and how it needs to be curbed. This problem will be eradicated when people are educated about the symptoms of ...
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Just as in the debate for having firearms in schools in the shootings in America, I doubt having firearms can solve the problem. NEJM has a review on this in April 2016 inspired by the Jan 2015 shooting and killing of a surgeon in BWH ( by Dr Philips from Harvard Medical School and the Department of Emergency Medicine and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center No specific evidence based method has been identified It was suggested that violence ca...
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I was not aware of the situation in India. Thank you for sharing this. So far here in the Philippines I have not come across such events where the doctor was killed or the hospital was ransacked by relatives of the critically ill patient. There is still a great level of respect for the doctor here, which is strongly supported by cultural values, despite him or her not being able to save the life of the patient. It is very unfortunate that doctors in India have to petition for firearms to protect...
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