Docs’ crisis at govt hospitals adds to woes

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 16 June 2019

“In about 80 per cent cases, the families coming to government hospitals have this perspective that they have to choose a government-run hospital as they don’t have funds. Moreover, many families come there with the preconception that the treatment will be faulty. And in the remaining 20 per cent cases, the patients who are almost on the verge of dying are sent to government hospitals. This adds to the frustration of the family and results in violence,” said Gadre.

Pune: The current government healthcare system has a great challenge in terms of the poor patients to doctor ratio, lack of infrastructure and need for better communication skills by medicos. The question to ponder is why many of these assaults happen in government hospitals?

Speaking about why most doctors at government medical colleges and hospitals are targeted, Public Health Expert Dr Arun Gadre said that government hospitals are considered as dumping grounds for patients.

“In about 80 per cent cases, the families coming to government hospitals have this perspective that they have to choose a government-run hospital as they don’t have funds. Moreover, many families come there with the preconception that the treatment will be faulty. And in the remaining 20 per cent cases, the patients who are almost on the verge of dying are sent to government hospitals. This adds to the frustration of the family and results in violence,” said Gadre.

Echoing similar views, Dr Shishir Khose, Vice President of Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) and President of MARD, BJ General Medical College (BJGMC), said the resident and junior doctors at government medical colleges are already burdened.

“Take the example of Pune, except for BJGMC attached to Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), there are three more medical colleges, which can cater to patients. However, these hospitals also send their patients to us even when they have the equal infrastructure and more staff. The doctors as well as infrastructure here is also burdened. But we cannot refuse any patients so we have to take in everyone,” said Khose. 

Why assaults are less in private hospitals?
Speaking to Sakal Times, Khose added that the private facilities have trained security guards, which act as a deterrent.

“These guards are trained, they are in good numbers and in most cases carry arms and so act as an effective deterrent. In government facilities, this number is less as compared to the mob and hence the deterrence is less,” said Khose. 

Dr Arun Gadre also shared that private hospitals have a strong nexus with local politicians, police stations and a strong security system.
“All of these factors lead to fewer assaults in corporate facilities,” added Gadre. 

Who is at loss?
Dr Arun Gadre added that due to the increasing violence against doctors, patients are at an immense loss.
“Many doctors from smaller facilities are in a defensive treatment mode and immediately send a patient to a bigger hospital out of fear of getting a violent reaction from families,” said Gadre. 

He also added that many intelligent students, out of fear of getting beaten, will now choose to take up other professions.

“This is a loss to our society,” said Dr Gadre. 

Timeline of attacks on doctors
In 2017

  • March 14: A 35-year-old resident doctor was assaulted by relatives of a patient at the Dhule Civil Hospital. This was the 48th attack in Maharashtra since January 2015. 

In 2018

  • February 27: Two resident doctors were assaulted by a patient’s kin at the Delhi government’s biggest medical institute, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).
  • March 25: A mob assaulted doctors at the DY Patil Hospital in Pune.
  • April 6: A senior resident doctor at Delhi government’s Sushrut Trauma Centre was beaten up by a patient’s relatives.
  • May 11: Doctors took part in a silent march to protest against the attacks on doctors, the latest being the assault on a doctor in Uttarpara.
  • May 19: Two resident doctors were beaten by a patient’s relative in Mumbai’s JJ Hospital.
  • May 20: A doctor at a private hospital in Jaipur was attacked by a patient’s family and friends.
  • May 25: An orthopaedic student was beaten up by a patient’s relatives at the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.

In 2019

  • June 12: Two intern doctors at NRS Medical College, Kolkata, received near-fatal injuries at the hands of a mob of 200 plus after a 75-year-old patient died in the medicine ward. 
  • June 12: A case was registered against a 17-year-old and his friend for allegedly assaulting a doctor at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Palghar where his father died.

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