Updated: July 1, 2021 6:29:05 pm
The Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) Thursday reiterated their demand for the formation of a legal cell in the state to avoid assaults and untoward incidents against them.
Citing over 12 incidents of “outrageous physical and psychological assaults” on health workers since the onset of Covid-19 in the state, KARD stated that its members were distressed to complete duties related to the pandemic.
“Such incidents have left us demoralised and in fear of continuing our duties. That is why we will work with the theme of ‘Zero Tolerance towards Assault Against Doctors’ this 2021,” Dr Namratha C, President of the Association, noted.
Further, a statement issued by KARD on National Doctors’ Day, read: “We demand the formation of a legal cell to prevent further events and punish the ones responsible (for such acts).”
Meanwhile, Dr Dayanand Sagar, a Psychiatry Resident posted at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute pointed out that several requests, protests, and petitions made to the public and the government have garnered no response yet. “This is another attempt to draw attention and educate the general public, even if it does cloud our special day,” he said.
KARD and medical students linked to the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) had written to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa earlier this month demanding a state-level legal cell with its presence at the district level as well, to reassure safety and security to the doctors.
“Doctors face assaults from family members of patients often. Not all assault is physical and in most cases, it is verbal. Bereaved families often use very abusive language against us, but in most cases, we won’t be able to take any legal action because we are already overworked and the institution also refuses to provide any assistance. Because of this, a legal cell including doctors and lawyers need to be created to look into such cases,” the Association wrote.
KARD had also mentioned an ‘assault registry’, which includes similar cases reported from hospitals in Bengaluru, Belagavi, Gadag, Hubballi, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Mandya, Mysuru, and Vijayanagara.
Meanwhile, Dr B L Vishwanath, President of the Karnataka Doctors Wing, affiliated to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), pointed out that medical professionals who faced violence were known to develop psychological issues such as depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, fear, and anxiety, leading to absenteeism. “Many have lost their clinics, injured themselves, lost lives, and also got their professional reputation tarnished due to such incidents,” he said.
Karnataka AAP Doctors Wing also demanded that the Centre and the state government should bring in stringent laws to provide protection to the doctors including paramedical staff.
At the same time, ealth and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar condemned such incidents warning people manhandling health professionals of strict legal action. “Doctors and healthcare professionals try to save the life of each patient till the last breath and none would want a patient left to die,” he said.
He stressed that the public should refrain from the law into their hands. “Strict legal action will be initiated against such defaulters. It is a punishable offence with charges of five to seven years of imprisonment,” Sudhakar warned.
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