World Medical Association highlights attacks on Indian doctors: Report

A World Health Organization (WHO) report has said nearly 600 violent incidents against health facilities in 19 countries took place in 2014 and 2015.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2017 10:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
World Medical Association,Indian doctors,Attacks on doctors
The Sion Hospital was closed when doctors went on a strike in Mumbai in March this year.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

The World Medical Association has issued a warning over the increase in violence against doctors in countries such as India and China, as well as in Europe and America, where patients or relatives verbally or physically abuse the medical caregivers, a report by a medical news portal has said.

A World Health Organization (WHO) report has said nearly 600 violent incidents against health facilities in 19 countries took place in 2014 and 2015. In the first three-quarters of 2016, 198 such incidents against health care were reported.

My Medical Mantra reported that doctors around the world, who have gathered in Geneva for the 70th World Health Assembly, have also issued a warning over this rising threat.

“We need to pay more attention to increasing violence in civil situations. Here, there is an urgent need for better protection. Facilities have to be secured against weapons being brought in, especially firearms and knives. Hospitals and clinics must be weapon free. And in conflict situations, health care personnel and facilities are becoming weapons of war and this must end,” it quoted the chairperson of the World Medical Association, Dr Ardis Hoven, as saying.

“We need better legal protection for medical and other health professionals as many countries already do for law-enforcement officers. Whoever attacks a nurse, physician or a health worker, regardless whether this is a verbal or physical attack, must know that he or she will be severely punished for it,” she said while addressing a Health Care in Danger event on Monday.

My Medical Mantra said the event, organised by the Swiss and Canadian governments, was held to mark the first anniversary of the United Nations Security Council resolution strongly condemning attacks on medical personnel in situations of conflict.

The resolution demanded an end to impunity for those responsible and respect for international law on the part of all warring parties, it added.

In March, junior doctors in Maharashtra resorted to a strike to protest a spate of assaults on colleagues by patients’ relatives. The Maharashtra doctors were up in arms recent cases of violence against medical practitioners at various hospitals where relatives of patients attacked their respective doctors-in-charge.

Close to 20,000 resident doctors at all major government hospitals in Delhi, except the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), also went on a mass casual leave to express their solidarity with the Maharashtra doctors.

Dr KK Aggarwal, the national president of Indian Medical Association, said told the portal India and China witness the maximum number of assaults on doctors.

“While doctors are not against being held accountable, no one has the right to indulge in violence. We need strict rules and regulations to stop assaults on doctors,” Dr Aggarwal said.

He also suggested that standard operative procedures (SOP’s) should be followed in all public hospitals, it added.

“In emergency and billing areas, there should be security and SOP’s should be followed. Ideally, relatives should not be allowed in emergency areas but since the workload is high, it is unavoidable to have a relative in the room, the administration should ensure that the protocols are followed to avoid assaults on doctors,” Dr Aggarwal said.

First Published: May 23, 2017 12:47 IST