Attacks on doctors have been making it to the headlines every other day. Early findings from an ongoing study by the Indian Medical association (IMA) now reveals that over 75% of doctors have faced violence at work.

Some of the significant findings of the study

  • More than 75% of doctors have faced some sort of violence at work
  • Maximum violence is faced while providing emergency services. Nearly 50% of attacks are reported form ICU’s or after a patient has undergone surgery.
  • Data from last five years has revealed that family or attendants are found guilty in 68% of the cases.
  • Most violence has occurred during visiting hours and peak hours when doctors are busy.
  • Even paramedical staffs are not spared while shifting critical patients to the hospital.Transport time has also been a time of nerves for the relatives of patients and outbursts of violence have been noted many a times.

Though the statistics are grave, the real scenario is predicted to be far worse as many doctors do not report out of consideration for the situation the relatives are in. Anything from mere verbal abuse to physical assault against a doctor is classified as violence. Only cases where the doctor is or feels threatened are reported.

IMA is advocating stringent laws against violence toward doctors and health care professionals. But, experts feel that the problem would be better addressed by providing a more comprehensive approach. In addition to stricter laws, counseling to relatives and keeping  patients and relatives informed of their treatment and options are needed.

The recent attacks on Allahabad gastroenterologist and a duty doctor in Panvel, Mumbai without any mistakes or provocation from the doctors has stirred up the debate against such attacks. In the wake of such attacks, this study reveals a worrisome picture for clinical practice in India.


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