Attack on doctor at Stanley hospital sparks protest


    19 June 2018

CHENNAI: A death allegedly due to medical negligence is often the reason for flare-ups among patients’ families at hospitals. Now, all it takes is a needle prick.

A 23-year-old duty doctor at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital was assaulted early on Sunday when a patient screamed as he tried to insert an intravenous line.

Mariammal, 80, a resident of Minjur, was admitted to the hospital on June 12 with diarrhoea. She was shifted to the general ward late on Saturday. Around 1.30am on Sunday, duty doctor Devanand put her on drips. When he inserted the needle, Mariammal shouted saying it hurt. Before he could react, the patient’s attender, Jayachandran, allegedly pounced on him and slapped him. The hospital staff alerted the security, who rushed in and restrained 75-year-old Jayachandran.

In response to the assault, close to 100 doctors staged a demonstration at the hospital early on Sunday demanding that the government beef up security at medical institutions. Dr Ponnambalam Namasivayam, dean of the college, said that following a similar assault on a doctor last year, additional security personnel had been deployed on the campus.

“We increased the security force from 60 to 80 people and installed more CCTV cameras,” said the doctor.

He said although the doctor had no sign of external injury, the incident has again pushed the white-coats to work in an environment of fear. “This is unacceptable. People’s attitude needs to change,” he said.

Following the demonstration, the police apprehended Jayachandran. Violent attacks on hospitals have become common despite the Tamil Nadu Medicare Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions (Prevention of violence and damage or loss to property) Act, in force since 2008.In January last year, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) made a representation to the commissioner of police for Coimbatore city seeking stringent action against a mob that went on a rampage at a private hospital following the death of a 20-year-old man.

Two months later, doctors at Rajiv GandhiGovernment General Hospital led a massive protest after one of their colleagues was attacked by a patient’s family. The protest pushed the state health department to ask for permanent deployment of an additional 25 policemen on the campus. The government had also promised that steps would be taken to make the provisions of the existing act more stringent.

Dr G R Ravindranath, general secretary of Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE), said the government must go beyond providing security to doctors. “There is a deep mistrust among the public about medical institutions. This culture needs to go. The only way we can do this is by improving healthcare facilities and doctor-patient relations,” he said.

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