Defending the medical staff at the Gujarat government-run PDU Hospital in Rajkot, in reference to a recent incident of paramedics beating and pinning down a Covid-19 patient at the hospital, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, on Tuesday, said that the hospital staff in the ward did not attack the patient, rather, they were trying to control him.
The patient was under an attack of delirium and was creating menace in the ward by endangering other patients, Patel said.
Drawing a parallel between the incident and the Gujarat Assembly, the Deputy CM said that even sergeants drive away the MLAs who create menace by coming down to the Well of the House.
“It is not proper, but if I give an example here (Assembly) – if some friends come down to the Well, then our sergeants take them away. They have to be literally lifted. So, we have not lifted him (the patient at Rajkot hospital), we have controlled him. Our officials have done whatever was necessary, by whichever method, in the interest of the patients and the hospital,” Patel said.
Shooting the messenger
The government found itself on the backfoot after a video of hospital staff “restraining” Covid patient Prabhashankar Paatil went viral on September 17. Officials have been denying Paatil was beaten up though video shows him being pinned down and slapped. Two ambulance drivers, who allegedly shared the video were detained by police following an application by a doctor of the civil hospital.
The Deputy CM was responding to the urgent matter put to the notice of the House by Congress MLAs Punja Vansh, Lalit Kagathara and Lalit Vasoya, as per the rules of the Assembly. In the video of the incident, paramedics of PDU Hospital can be seen pinning down and slapping a 38-year-old Covid-19 patient, Prabhashankar Patil, to “restrain” him. The Congress MLAs said that there was a sense of fear among people for getting Covid-19 at government hospitals because of the video.
“In such a serious situation when thousands of officials are working, there is a possibility of some small mistake. But the mistake is never committed intentionally. If we look (at the incident) in that perspective, then it will encourage our health officials. If we keep on reprimanding (them) in every matter, then it is not proper in the current situation,” Patel said.
Defending the staff at the Rajkot hospital, Patel compared the viral video with various instances and added that they are attempts to defame the government and demoralize medical staff. Patel said that on September 9, Patil had tried to attack a patient next to his bed.
“He started speaking gibberish and moving inside the ward while removing his clothes. It was obvious that our health staff in the ward had to stop him from doing so and that attempt has been recorded in the video… The security staff had tried to catch him, no kind of attack was launched on him. In the attempt to catch him (Patil), he fell down and the video, which has gone public, created a picture as if he was being beaten.”
“If a person creates menace, then we have to catch him, pin him down. It may happen that he falls down. This incident is of that kind. We had also shown him to psychiatrists. They examined him and said that it was a kind of hysteria because of which he was creating the menace. The incident has happened to control him and its video has gone viral,” Patel said.
During the discussion, Kagathara had also alleged that on the one hand, the patient faced atrocity and on the other hand there is a complaint under Section 151 (of Criminal Procedure Code) against the person who made the video viral.
Patel added that the government had also shown CCTV footage of the ward to journalists in Rajkot. He said that health professionals – doctors, nurses, paramedics – are working in Covid hospitals while putting their lives in danger and they need to be appreciated. He further said that 5,500 patients have taken treatment at the Rajkot hospital.
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