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NRI doctor assaulted in Scotland

An Indian doctor has been hospitalised after being assaulted by a patient during an examination in his clinic in Scotland.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2007 10:14 IST

A doctor of Indian origin has been hospitalised after being assaulted by a patient during an examination in his clinic in Scotland, prompting other medical staff to carry personal alarm systems at all times.

Arun Rai, 49, who graduated from Ranchi University, has been working at the practice owned by Dr Singh and Partners in the Clydebank Medical Centre, Glasgow, for the last three years.

Rai was assaulted while examining a patient in his chamber last week and is currently recovering. He suffered severe bruising and cuts after being pushed to the ground and repeatedly battered on the head and face.

A female colleague heard his screams and rounded up several members of staff who rushed into the room to help.

Alan McDevitt, secretary of the Glasgow Local Medical Committee, said: "The room was fitted with an emergency security button but Dr Rai was did not have a chance to use it. He is a pretty big guy so the attacker must have used a lot of force.

"Arun is obviously very shaken and staff at the centre is also very upset. They are in tears just thinking about it. It's totally unacceptable that anyone should be subjected to such an unprovoked attack, let alone a GP doing his job in the middle of the afternoon.

"It will take Arun a while to get back to work. The fact that this happened in broad day light with a lot of people around obviously makes doctors feel more vulnerable."

Frank McDade, 45, a resident of Clydebank, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court in connection with the attack. He was charged with assault to severe injury and another assault charge. He made no plea or declaration and was released on bail pending further inquiries.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said: "This is appalling news.

"It is unacceptable that doctors providing care and treatment to patients should be subject to such an attack. A strong message must be sent that violence will not be tolerated and strict sentences should apply."

The attack on Rai comes three months after a general practitioner Helen Jackson was stabbed by a patient at her surgery in Glasgow's Hyndland. Doctors have called for greater protection after a growing numbers of attacks.

Local doctors believe that Rai may have been unable to reach the wall mounted panic button in his room as a patient allegedly assaulted him during a "routine" afternoon consultation.

Urgent discussions are now taking place regarding introducing a new portable silent alarm system to replace the old one. All staff at the health centre have been given a personal alarm siren - which they can carry with them at all times - to increase safety and allay fears.

Meanwhile, concern has been expressed at allowing Indian surgeon Amit Misra, 37, being allowed back to work in the National health Service last week after he was suspended for alleged medical negligence that resulted in the death of a patient.

Misra reportedly fled to India after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Sean Phillips, a 31-year-old sales executive, who died from a common infection while recovering from routine knee surgery.

A court was told that the trainee surgeon had failed to diagnose the infection and was "too proud" to ask senior doctors for help until it was too late. He was suspended from working for a year and avoided a jail term after his barrister pleaded that his career was in ruins.

The GMC has now ruled that Misra should now be allowed to return to Britain to work, seven years after Phillips's death. However, the family of Phillips said that there was no way that the doctor should be allowed to work in Britain again.

Southampton-based Phillips was expected to leave hospital the day after the operation on June 23, 2000. Four days later he was dead, after developing toxic shock syndrome from staphylococcus aureus, a common but virulent bacterial infection.