Indian Dr. Covid demands action after attack

Dr. Senapati at home

Dr. Senapati was brutally attacked after the death of a patient in his hospital

Dr. Seuj Kumar Senapati vividly remembers the early afternoon of June when he thought he would die.

It was his first job and his second day at the Covid Care Center in the Hojai district of Assam, northeastern India.

He was asked to check the patients who were hospitalized that morning. When he did, he noticed that he was unresponsive.

The patient’s family was furious when he told them that the man had died. Immediately, Dr. Senapati remembered, all hell was unleashed. He said they started throwing chairs around the room, breaking windows and abusing staff.

Dr. Senapati ran for a cover, but soon more people joined the family and they found him.

A horrifying video of the attack mainly shows a group of men kicking Dr. Senapati and hitting his head with a toilet bowl-then they drag him out and keep hitting him. Bloody and shirtless, Dr. Senapati can be heard barking in pain and fear.

“I thought I couldn’t survive,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic in India last year, several doctors have been attacked by the families of Covid patients. Repeated complaints: Their loved ones were not treated properly or were not assigned beds on time.

The doctor has Protested and went on strike It demands stricter laws, as well as more staffing and better infrastructure to reduce pressure on them.

The hospital is also not ready. No one came to help Dr. Senapati, as the rest of the staff were also beaten and hidden when he was being attacked. One guard was powerless against the mob.

“My clothes were torn, my gold chains were snatched, my cell phone and glasses were broken, but after about 20 minutes I managed to escape,” said Dr. Senapati.

He went straight to the local police station and registered the complaint. Attack videos that have been shared on social media since then have caused a fuss. The state government promised swift action, and 36 people, including three minors, were charged with assault.

A member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) demonstrating with a placard calling for a central law to protect doctors from violence outside AIIMS on June 18, 2021 in Delhi, India.

Doctors protested demanding stricter laws to protect them

Attacks on health care workers were in the limelight during Covid, but they also occurred with vigilant regularity before the pandemic. However, most cases do not lead to police complaints or investigations. When they do so, the accused are often released on bail and immediately released, and the case is settled outside the courtroom.

Earlier this year, a family of Covid patients who died in the devastating second wave of India suffered property damage and staff abuse at Apollo Hospital in the capital, Delhi. Despite being a well-known private hospital, he did not file a complaint. In fact, hospital administration is rarely involved in such cases, leaving staff more vulnerable.

According to doctors, one of the problems is that there are no specific laws that protect doctors.

Dr. Jaish-e-Moles, Director General of Health Care in India, said, “We found that existing legislation was ineffective and not a deterrent. Strong legislation is urgently needed and the consequences of beating doctors To be understandable. ” Association (IMA).

With over 330,000 doctors, IMA has been working hard to seek strict legislation to stop attacks on medical professionals.

But can the law solve the problem?

“Such violence is unplanned and the result of emotional triggers caused by death, so the law does not act as a deterrent,” said Shreya Shrivastava, who is tracking violence against doctors. ..

Shrivastava, a member of the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy research team, surveyed newspaper reports on 56 attacks from January 2018 to September 2019 to understand the causes and how to control them.

She said the government introduced up to seven years in prison as a punishment for attacks on health care workers treating Covid patients. But that didn’t help.

At the Covid-19 Care Center in Delhi, doctors and medical staff wearing personal protective suits (PPEs) will see Covid-19 patients.

Healthcare workers say the pandemic is putting immense pressure on them

Dr. Bikas Lady, a doctor at Gandhi Hospital in a city in southern Hyderabad, was attacked in iron and plastic chairs last June by a relative of a man who died of Covid. He appealed to the police, but no one has been arrested yet.

“It was difficult to get back to work,” said Dr. Lady. “I was in the same acute care ward and was seeing an important patient. There was a flash of attack in my head.”

He said he spent a lot of time thinking about what had happened.

“I was in a dilemma,” he said. He wanted to know how to explain the diagnosis and how to break the tragic news and prevent another attack.

“I realized that I needed to explain what I could and couldn’t do with the patient and his family. If I disagree, I need to take the patient to another hospital, but that’s the case. Nothing. Hours. There are 20-30 patients a day. “

Dr. Lady in front of the protest.

Dr. Lady and his colleagues protested after the attack on him

India is one of the countries with the lowest doctor-patient ratio in the world. The World Bank estimates that there were 90 doctors per 100,000 in 2018. This is much lower than China (200), the United States (260), or Russia (400).

And the pandemic has already grown a thin workforce.

According to Shrivastava’s research, attacks on health care workers typically occurred when patients were in the emergency ward or ICU, moved from one hospital to another, or died. And all of this became more frequent during the pandemic.

“Being in the Covid Ward is like having a war,” Dr. Lele said.

Next is the issue of trust.

Mostly unregulated and the expensive private sector provides two-thirds of all medical services in India.

Despite the costly care, Shrivastava says people are dying at Covid, weakening confidence in the system. And media reports of medical malpractice, which tend to go beyond the story of doctors’ struggles, make people more suspicious.

“The best we can do is to do our best to our patients,” said Dr. Lady. “Not all patients can be expected [or family] Be nice [to us]They only respect us as professionals and that we chose this profession to save lives. “

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