Doctors under duress: Stop the violence

Make a law against “Interference in patient care”

Should the docs leave casualty if they sense hostility / arrogant and threatening relatives? Every doctor cannot make correct decisions under duress, and patients suffer.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Doctors who work in any emergency ward / hospital in India are exposed to two great risks: violence and murders and early health problems and death due to the stress associated with attending the ill-behaved threatening mobs over years.

More the public can be emotionally enraged, more the TRP, hence Media is mostly interested in only the sensational. Unfortunately Indian majority is driven by calls for blind sympathy without verifying truth. Any violence is condemned anywhere by someone or the other, but NO POLITICIANS / SOCIAL FIGURES/ MEDIA /PUBLIC ARE HEARD CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AGAINST DOCTORS.

After a lot of pressure some states have made laws to protect doctors. But this law is only against threats, violence or damage to the property.. It must include delayed / improper patient care by relatives, denial of treatment to the patient until they become critical, and intimidation of hospital staff, and interference with decision making via direct or indirect threats or influence. Relatives must respect other patients in the hospital too, and understand that their ill-behavior may affect many other patients directly or indirectly.

Almost all VIPs, Ministers move around with guns and goons, sometimes even in police protection, but deny the same basic protection to the doctors working day n night, foodless, sleepless in all casualties all over the country…THE GOVERNMENT MUST EMPLOY QUALIFIED SENIOR DOCTORS IN ALL ITS HOSPITALS AND CASUALTIES, and also provide for police in each casualty/ hospital..

There must be coordinators, even bouncers in each casualty if not police. It is NOT the job of casualty doctors to entertain uneducated, ignorant, drunk, panicked, arrogant and extremely expectant relatives simultaneously making life and death decisions about the critical patient. Every patient in casualty must receive the best care and attention, but it is the relatives often who interfere with this: Shouting, threatening and often turning violent. It is not possible to make correct decisions in complicated cases under duress.

Doctors are expected to be extra sensitive to patients… which extra sensitive person can work with people threatening, shouting, cursing, blaming and often getting physical… all this while she / he is trying to do good to help their patient?

Doctors should have a “Panic switch” (like in banks) in their casualty / hospital, linked to the nearest police stations / control room, and use it freely at the earliest sign of interference with patient care or threat to their own safety by relatives. There should be a record of relative’s behavior and patient attendance / care by them on inpatient papers too, as most of those who threaten and misbehave magically disappear when blood or medicines are required, during doctor’s rounds (and then come to the hospital and call at 10 PM, alleging “Doctor you did not meet us today”) and when their patient needs someone by his / her side.

Many actually “dump” the patient in a hospital like they leave their cars / bikes at the mechanic!

There must be an NGO / likewise to educate the society of what is possible and what is not for the doctors, and what is standard medical practice, so over-expectation and misbehavior can be eradicated.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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