Visakhapatnam: Doctors seek safety at workplace

Angered junior doctors staging a protest against rising attacks on them in Visakhapatnam
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Angered junior doctors staging a protest against rising attacks on them in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

When family members feel reluctant to come closer to Covid-19 patients fearing contraction of the infection, doctors hardly think twice to reach out to them and that too, round the clock.

Visakhapatnam: When family members feel reluctant to come closer to Covid-19 patients fearing contraction of the infection, doctors hardly think twice to reach out to them and that too, round the clock. Unfortunately, there is no safety for them as attacks continue to rise on them with each passing day.

Donning PPE kits for not less than eight hours despite the humid weather, they treat coronavirus patients, putting their own lives at risk.

Unable to control emotions caused due to the loss of a family member, kin of the patients indulge in acts of violence against the healthcare service personnel. Of late, it has become a recurring incident in most hospitals.

Earlier, frustration was often expressed by breaking the furniture or causing damage to the property at wards or confined to heated argument with the doctor itself.

But now, the attack is directly on health professionals and doctors.

The violence witnessed at King George Hospital's forensic department on Tuesday exceeded the tolerance level of the healthcare professionals.

A doctor was attacked by 12 family members and relatives of the deceased for performing the post mortem. The incident happened much after the approval given by the court and based on the instructions of the police to carry out the post-mortem. The mass attack happened when the body was handed over to the relatives of the deceased. "I have never seen or heard about people attacking doctors performing their duty at Anatomy and Forensic wings. The incident at KGH came as a rude shock to us," says Deepchand Natra, advisory committee member of Junior Doctors' Association.

At a time when doctors are sparsely available to tackle the pandemic, health professionals express concern over their safety at workplace as acts of violence against them continue to rise with each passing day.

Elaborating further, Deepchand Natra says, "In departments where such violent behaviour is often witnessed, police security should be facilitated."

Ever since the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19, KGH alone registered repeated acts of violence against medical staff. "Such attacks happened at Pulmonology, neurosurgery and casualty departments, CSR block in KGH, Andhra Medical College, Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) and Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases. Lack of awareness about the legal implications among people is one of the main reasons for repeated attacks on medical staff," reasons K Kiran Kumar, president of Junior Doctors' Association.

With stress and risk factors adding to the concerns of the health professionals, absence of security in the hospitals is another worrying factor that bothers them while performing Covid duties.

Stringent punishment for those violating the rules, increase in police security at vulnerable wards and police patrolling, awareness on laws that protect doctors and health professionals from acts of violence were some of the areas the medical staff demand serious attention.

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