Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 17
Amid ongoing protest by Bengal doctors over assault on their colleagues after the death of an old man in a government hospital in Kolkata on June 10, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a petition seeking safety and security of doctors across India.
Junior doctors in West Bengal have been on strike since June 11, demanding better security at workplace after the attack on their colleagues in Kolkata. The IMA declared Friday last as the “All India Protest Day” and launched a three-day nationwide protest. It also called for a strike on June 17 by withdrawal non-essential health services.
Due to the protests, healthcare services in the country have been badly hit as doctors outside West Bengal also joined protest. Over 100 senior doctors of various state-run hospitals across West Bengal resigned from service. Resident Doctors’ Association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) announced withdrawal of nonessential services from noon after a junior doctor at its trauma centre was assaulted early Monday.
A Vacation Bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta agreed to take up the petition on June 18 after the petitioner’s counsel Alakh Alok Srivastava sought urgent hearing.
Filed on Friday last, the petition sought directions to union ministries of home affairs and health, and the government of West Bengal to depute government-appointed security personnel at all state-run hospitals to ensure safety and security of doctors.
\Demanding strictest legal and penal action against those who assaulted junior doctors at NRS Medical College Hospital in Kolkata, the petition sought directions to formulate appropriate guidelines to ensure safety and security of doctors at government hospitals.
The petitioner submitted that the Indian Medical Association has supported the agitation and has asked its members in all states to stage protests and many senior doctors have resigned from their posts in support of the agitating doctors.
”As per the study conducted by IMA, more than 75 percent of doctors across the country have faced some form of violence. This study concluded that 50 percent violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals and in 70 percent of cases, the relatives of the patients were actively involved,” it said.
”The doctors are our saviours and particularly the doctor working in government hospitals are doing great national service, particularly to the poor and downtrodden of this country, in extremely adverse circumstances,” the petitioner submitted.
A junior resident doctor at the emergency ward of the AIIMS Trauma Centre was allegedly verbally abused and manhandled by the attendants of a patient late on Sunday night.
The AIIMS Resident Doctor's Association (RDA) said services at outpatient departments (OPDs) and routine operation theatre, and ward visits have been withdrawn from Monday noon till 6 am Tuesday, but emergency services such as ICU, casualty and labour room services are available.
The incident took place around 11.30 pm Sunday in the emergency ward of the AIIMS Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre when a patient with a foot injury reached there for treatment, president of AIIMS Resident Doctor's Association (RDA) Dr Amarinder Singh Malhi said.
"The patient arrived with his attendants. The doctor on duty was attending to a high-risk patient at that time when the attendants asked him to attend their patient on priority basis.
"The doctor asked them to wait for a while saying he attending a high-risk patient who required immediate medical care. He told them that he will definitely attend the patient. But the attendants started verbally abusing the doctor and even manhandled him," Dr Singh claimed.
"The medico at the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre was allegedly assaulted for giving preferential care to a critical patient," the RDA said in a statement and demanded enactment of a comprehensive central law for checking violence on doctors and healthcare staff at hospitals.
Police said a case has been registered after the AIIMS doctors filed a complained.
According to a senior police official, two people have been detained for allegedly misbehaving and abusing the doctor while the third accused is absconding. With PTI
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