The cease work initiated by the junior doctors of SSKM Hospital,Kolkata following the assault on a colleague by a patient’s relative has yielded result. Following the cease work which lasted around 16 hours, the hospital authorities have assured that proper security measures will be installed within the hospital premises. But the authorities did not agree to release the CCTV footage that shows the assault incident which took place on Wednesday night.

Following the assault, over 150 junior doctors and interns called an indefinite strike in the state-run hospital. One of the major demands was to have proper security in the hospital premises. But that isn’t the only demand which was made, neither is it the only provision accepted by the authorities.

For instance, it has been agreed that going forward, the beds which are already booked for VIP patients will be allotted to patients in serious conditions for free.

The root of the doctor’s strike lies in the case of patient, Mustafijur Rahaman-a 5 year old who was brought to the hospital in the aftermath of a lorry accident. Mustafijur sustained injuries in his head and right leg. He was first taken to RG Kar Medical College but there he was left untreated for around two hours. After that he was referred to the SSKM hospital.

The patients’ relatives claimed that the patient was left unattended in SSKM Hospital as well-that too for more than two hours. This led to a group of around 30 individuals entering the emergency department and physically assaulting the on-duty intern, Dr.Abhishek Singh. They accused the doctor of negligence.

A riot-like situation arose within the building which was doused only by the intervention of the police. The junior doctors of the hospital lodged a complaint based on which an FIR was registered. The incident led the way to Dr.Manju Banerjee, the director of IPGMER, Dr.Manash Sarkar, medical superintendent, Murli Dhard, the dean of students affairs and DC(South) of Calcutta University and the officer-in-charge of the Bhawanipore police station to arrive at the hospital at around 2:30 in the morning.

The visiting doctors and the police officials were gheraoed by the junior doctors. They declared that the gherao would not be withdrawn until those who were accused in the FIR were arrested. By 5:30 AM, four members of the patient’s family including the father was arrested on the charge of assaulting the doctor.

The accused were charged with non-bailable offence under Sections 353/114 of the Indian Penal Code. The doctors have called off the strike.

Over 75% Indian doctors face violence

Assaults against doctors is a disturbing development in the country. A study conducted by the Indian Medical Association(IMA) shows that more than 75 percent of Indian doctors have faced some sort of violence at work. The string of attacks against doctors by patient’s family members has become so evident that even foreign media including the Los Angeles Times has mentioned it.

And the desperate situation of the doctors on this regard is evident from such facts as a doctors organization in Mumbai hiring the private security firm, Topsline Emergency Response to protect their 4,000 odd members. And the fact that this happened back in 2004 and the Indian doctors still face the issue shows how the doctor’s plight is still largely unaddressed.

The most recent attack on a doctor by an irate mob happened in the Ghazipur district of UP.That incident took place just 4 days ago.

Image credits: The Indian Express

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