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Doctors under attack, most unaware of protection laws

Under fire from various quarters after a spurt in cases of alleged negligence, the medical fraternity feels the criticism is unjustified.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2012 00:45 IST
Divya Sethi

Under fire from various quarters after a spurt in cases of alleged negligence, the medical fraternity feels the criticism is unjustified.

The most recent case of a four-day-old girl dying in Jalandhar’s civil hospital for want of Rs 200 to keep her in a photo-therapy unit has sparked outrage and debate.

City doctors feel that families put all the blame on the hospital if they are unable to save the life of a patient. Doctors have also been attacked and physically attacked by aggrieved relatives. Though there is a law for their safety, most doctors are unaware of it and live under constant threat.

Gurgaon too has witnessed many such protests by patients.

In April, Artemis Hospital in Sector 51 saw violence when a patient did not show signs of recovery.

The family of Rohit Chadha, who died during a liver transplant operation at Medanta– The Medicity in May, held a protest against the doctors at India Gate in New Delhi.

Dr Vishal Sehgal, medical superintendent, Artemis, said, “This is a routine thing and happens often at the time of billing. We also get threat calls.” He further said, “In the absence of any strict law, people have started taking advantage. Though the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has taken up the matter with the government, nothing concrete has come out.”

Dr Nitin Anand, medical superintendent, Alchemist Hospital, said, “At times, people have high expectations from doctors. Medics are often harassed and threatened too.”

But most doctors are not aware of the Haryana Medicare Service Person and Medicare Service Institution (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act which was implemented in 2009.

Dr Suresh Vasistha, governing council member, Association of Surgeons of India, said, “Violence in healthcare institutions is a non-bailable and cognizable offence.”