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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Violence against doctors – Pune’s medical students raise concern with a short film

With increasing attacks on doctors, the medical students, now in their final year at the college, have recirculated the short film to step up awareness.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
June 11, 2021 11:54:01 am
Libaas is a short film shot by medical students.

Two years ago, first-year MBBS students of Dr D Y Patil Medical College made a short seven-minute film ‘Libaas’ after witnessing a brutal assault on one of the resident doctors, who was attacked with a scalpel in the ICU allegedly by relatives of a deceased patient. The incident had triggered strikes and protests, and the number of visitors reduced by hospital authorities.

With increasing attacks on doctors, the medical students, now in their final year at the college, have recirculated the short film to step up awareness.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has been demanding stringent rules to prevent incidents of violence against healthcare workers. There have been a number of reports of doctors facing the ire of angry relatives over issues that are beyond the control of the medicos or the hospital administration.

Dr J A Jayalal, IMA national chief, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing deep anguish at a brutal attack on a young doctor in Assam a few days ago. “In the midst of this pandemic we are deeply hurt to see increasing incidents of physical violence against doctors and healthcare professions in this country,” wrote Jayalal.

Against this backdrop, the short film may by the young students is aiming to create awareness about the issue.

“There have been horrible incidents of violence against doctors in Assam and Gujarat recently, and we decided that our short film should be recirculated. We are horrified there is still no permanent solution,” Krishna Sambhare, who had directed the short film, said.

Students Vaibhavi, Aishani, Parth, Manan, Salil, Siddhant and Zeeshan came together to make this film, which begins with a patient being wheeled into emergency room. The protagonist then takes a slow walk round the hospital corridors describing the variety of patients that a doctor has to treat and eventually goes into the ICU when the lifesaving messiah is adjudged a murderer after a patient dies.

“We are medicos from D Y Patil medical college and hospital. We made a short film portraying an attack on doctors and wanted to throw some light on how the medics do the best they can without discrimination despite their circumstances. However, in recent times, the treating doctor has become a convenient punching bag for the mob to vent their frustration. If our film manages to make even a one per cent difference in the mentality of society and its outlook on the issue, then perhaps the lost belief of our budding doctors can be restored,” Sambhare said.

“The film ends by raising questions such as why the face which brings smiles to others feels threatened while doing his duty; why someone who faces adversities courageously has to face defeat in front of unruly crowds; and why the revered white coat has been drenched in blood,” says Sambhare.

Through the film, we are trying to depict the insecurity and uncertainty of a doctor’s life which continues till today, the actors said.

A recent IMA survey showed that 80 per cent of doctors are stressed in their profession, at least 56 per cent do not get even seven hours of sleep on most days of the week, and 46.3 per cent fear violence is the main cause of stress in many doctors.

“The seriousness of the attack regarding brutality has also become alarmingly life threatening. Doctors on duty are being systematically attacked by caregivers and bystanders on the plea of maltreatment of patients have increased in dangerous proportion to become a matter of concern,” expert doctors have written in the Journal of Health Research and Reviews in a recent report on Epidemiology of Violence against medical practitioners in a developing country.

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