Monday, May 30, 2011

Safety of on-duty doctors

Jail inmates beat doctor to death in Gopalganj: A doctor, Bhudev Singh, died in Patna Medical College, hours after he was beaten up by some inmates of a district jail in Gopalganj district of Bihar on Sunday.
The crashed air ambulance carrying the patient violated air norms:  The air ambulance that crashed in Faridabad killing 10 people including two medical residents and one male nurse last Wednesday seriously violated the government's air safety rules and regulations that ban medical evacuation in single-engine aircraft. The aircraft was carrying a patient from Patna who had slipped into coma.  “Operations with single-engine aeroplanes shall be conducted only on domestic sectors except for medical evacuation flights,” the relevant clause of the CAR clearly says. Single-engine aircraft cannot handle sudden emergencies.
These two headlines in the newspaper open up a new debate regarding the safety of practicing doctors. Both incidents occurred while on duty. It’s time for the medical associations in India to fight for the safety of the on-duty doctors.
Treating doctors are uninformed and give consent to travel in whatever arrangements are made for them. They are made to travel in ill-equipped ambulances, ill-fitted aircrafts, and in vehicles who rush their travel violating all traffic rules. The travel is often unsafe from all standards. We must raise our voice and fight for our rights.
I met one of the journalists who told me the sequence of events. One of the jail inmates, who happens to be a politician in Bihar, wanted a doctor to sign a false certificate declaring that the jail inmate was sick and was unfit to be transferred to another jail. When the doctor denied on merit that he would not give a false certificate, he was beaten up by the politician and his accomplices and the doctor ultimately died.
Is it what the doctors have to pay today for being truthful? I think a nationwide protest should be held and such politicians should be punished.
I reproduce below an email that I received today from a colleague, regarding this incident.

“Dear Dr Aggarwal, I was shocked to hear the morning new on TV today – “Doctor who was sent to examine the inmates in Bihar jail was beaten to death by inmates.” The reason – he refused to issue a false medical certificate. I am sure lots of hue and cry will be raised by the media, public and also the medical associations. No one will reach the bottom of such incidents. The basic reason behind all these incidents is dereliction of duty by someone who is in-charge.

Will the Jail Superintendent accept the responsibility for not providing security to the doctors?
Will someone tell me if an armed constable was posted to regulate the entry of patients (inmates) in the dispensary?

Will the CMO and Director of Health explain and accept the responsibility for sending the doctor to such place which was a high security risk without verifying the facilities and security for him?
 This is pure apathy of the administration and it is this culture that is responsible for all the incidents of manhandling of doctors everywhere. All the above individuals need to explain and those who are responsible should be dismissed from service and cases filed against them for dereliction of duty. Dr RS Bajaj, Consultant Pediatrician, Rohini.”

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