Several doctors, including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and other employees had to lock themselves up in a room at a government hospital in west Delhi on Friday night after a fight broke out between two groups of patients.
The incident took place hours after Health Minister Satyendra Jain wrote to the Delhi Police, seeking better security for doctors and ordered that 500 home guards be deputed to hospitals.
The patients had been brought to the emergency of the Acharya Shri Bhikshu hospital in Motinagar by police after being injured allegedly in a brawl over parking. The two groups allegedly went on the rampage inside the hospital, damaging equipment in the emergency and on the radio diagnosis floors. They also entered the wards on the third floor where patients were admitted, sources said.
“We had just started treating one of the groups the police had brought in when the other group of 15-20 people arrived. They initially tried to hit the patients we were treating in the emergency. When guards and hospital staff tried to stop them, they started hitting everyone in their way,” Dr Ankit Om, a senior resident in medicine who was on duty in the emergency on Friday night, said.
Dr Om said the doctors fled from the emergency and locked themselves inside the chief casualty medical officer’s room along with other staff. “We had to lock ourselves inside the duty room around midnight. We started making calls to the hospital administration and the police control room. But no one came throughout the night… We heard sounds throughout the night and, after 4 am, when the sounds finally stopped, we called the guards, asked them to barricade the emergency and then we came out,” he said.
He said it was left to only the three hospital guards to secure the emergency, although four-five police personnel who had brought the patients were at the hospital initially. The Motinagar police station too is close-by.
Hospital medical superintendent Dr Umesh Singh said he had taken up the matter with the police. “We have reported the matter to the police and we have been told an FIR will be registered soon. This was not an act of violence against the doctors on duty, but because two groups were fighting inside the hospital, it caused disturbance through the night. X-ray equipment were damaged. Beds and hospital files were thrown about…”
A police officer at Motinagar police station said, “There was a minor scuffle and the matter has been resolved. But the hospital administration has lodged a complaint at the Motinagar Police station.”
On Saturday morning, doctors in the casualty staged a protest, even as representatives of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) met CM Arvind Kejriwal, a scheduled meeting after the promise of better security by the government.
President of FORDA Dr Pankaj Solanki said they appraised the CM about the latest breach of security in a hospital. Jain could not be reached for his views.
Officials claimed home guards had started reporting at hospitals after the government’s orders, but sources said the 12 home guards deputed to the Acharya Shri Bhikshu hospital had not reported to duty until Saturday morning.
Motinagar MLA Shiv Charan Goel, who visited the hospital and met doctors and policemen, said, “I welcome the health minister’s decision to post home guards in hospitals and, if the 12 guards were present last night, I am sure such an incident would not have happened. I was told 30-40 people entered the hospital like hooligans, the police did nothing to stop them and when doctors made distress calls to the police, no one came to their help,” Goel told The Indian Express. He said he had asked police to file an FIR and take action against the miscreants.
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