In another incident of violence against medical staffers, three hospital employees— a trainee doctor, a medical officer
and a staff nurse— were allegedly assaulted by relatives of a patient in Nashik Civil Hospital. This is the third incident of violence against doctors in public hospitals in a week in Maharashtra. On Friday, the Staff Nurse Association registered a first information report with Nashik Police in the latest case.
Doctors from across the state also gathered at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Friday to protest against the assault of doctors in public hospitals. A memorandum was presented to the medical education minister and a demand for increased security in all government hospitals was made. On Wednesday night, a suspected swine flu patient was admitted to Nashik Civil Hospital in a critical condition. Treating doctors claimed the patient was admitted for three days to a private hospital in Sangamner.
“When he was brought his symptoms showed he suffered from swine flu. We admitted him to the isolation ward and immediately started treatment. A team of physicians and experts also visited him,” said Dr Varsha Lahade, head
of gynaecology at the hospital.
The patient was in a critical state and succumbed to the infection despite being put on intensive care support late Wednesday night. During his post-mortem, a mob of 20 relatives and friends of the patient entered the hospital and vandalised the intensive care unit. “A female staff nurse was pulled by her hair and her uniform was torn. A trainee resident doctor was also beaten up. They were just on duty and not even involved in the said patient’s treatment,” Lahade added.
When chief medical officer Rahul Patil intervened, he was also roughed up by the patient’s relatives. The nurse (34) and doctor (23) are both in shock over the incident, a hospital doctor said.
The mob fled the hospital before the police arrived on the scene. On Friday, the hospital staff refused to report for work and kept the out patient department shut until the civil surgeon assured them that CCTV cameras will be
Staffers claim identification of assaulters would get difficult in absence of a CCTV camera in the ward. The 750-bed hospital has 18 security guards who work in shifts. According to doctors, the staff strength is for 500 beds and posts for security were not increased despite expansion of the hospital.
Security guards were present when the incident happened, but they were outnumbered. A complaint under the Maharashtra Medical Act was registered with Nashik police on Friday. On Saturday, a team of Nashik police visited Sangamner to identify suspects involved in vandalising the hospital. However, no arrests have been made so far. The patient’s family lives in Sangamner.
“Even though no one was badly injured, such incidents, especially assault of female medical staff need to stop,” said Dr Parthiv Sanghvi, secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Mumbai.
According to Dr Aniruddha Bhandarkar, Nashik IMA President, doctors in Nashik hospitals are working in an environment of threat due to rising cases of assaults.
On March 12, a resident orthopaedic doctor was beaten up by a mob of over 20 in Dhule Civil Hospital. He is currently undergoing treatment at Jupiter Hospital, Thane. On March 14, relatives of a deceased pregnant woman vandalised Agrawal hospital in Shirpur although no police complaint was filed in the case.