Thursday, August 30, 2007

Why Doctor's are manhandled?

August 16, 2007. Place: Longding, Tirap District. A group of youths barges into the official residence of Medical Officer of Community Health Centre (CHC) and physically assaults the medic and his wife.

August 25, 2007. Place: Pasighat. A group of local people physically manhandles the Deputy Director Health Services (T&R) who is also a Senior Surgeon.

These are not the two stray incidents where the medicos have been assaulted or manhandled but quite off and on there have been reports of medicos being manhandled and in some cases to the extent of putting their life to danger. And the medicos has come heavily on these two incidents and threatened to take democratic action in the event of failure of local authorities to nab the culprit.

"Condemning the two separate assaults on doctors on the 16th and 25th August last, the Arunachal Pradesh Doctors' Association (APDA) has said that if the local authorities of Longding and Pasighat (where the incidents occurred) do not take immediate and appropriate action to nab and punish the culprits, ApDA would be forced to take appropriate and democratic action of it's own."

-The Arunachal Front

I too strongly condemn these two incidents where the medicos, who renders selfless service to the society has been manhandled but the question that comes to mind is:

Why do such incidents occur? Why doctors are manhandled?

As the reason/motive behind manhandling/assault on the medicos in the above instances is not known (not reported in the media), let me try to reason out the circumstances leading to occurrence of such incidents. The reasoning is not comprehensive in nature but purely based on the circumstances that I've witnessed in these past years, leading to assault on doctors.

With simple-minded yet hot-tempered people, putting the medicos in a very high esteem almost equating them with God having the power to bring back dead to life, it is quite often being seen that it is not the person, who assaults the medicos, are at fault alone but to some extent the medicos are to be blamed too. The reasons for such instances could be varied-from communication gap to state of mind of the relative of patient to the lackadaisical attitude of medicos. To elaborate on my reasoning let me cite some situations that usually lead to assault on medicos.

Situation I: A terminally ill patient at the last stage is brought to hospital for which the doctor has not much to do and the patient dies. The relatives of the patient who had put their hopes on the medicos that the patient would be saved (as they think that the medicos has the power to bring back the dead to life) loose their cool and starts manhandling the medic putting the blame entirely on medic. Here neither the medic nor the relatives of the patient, who has very disturbed state of mind at that instant, are at fault but it is the communication gap between the patient party and the medic that is at fault.

Situation II: A patient is brought to the hospital needing emergent attention, but emergency medic is nowhere at sight. The staff nurse on duty is asked to locate the doctor. Staff nurse returns and tells that the doctor would be attending the patient in a while. But even after quite a time, doctor is nowhere at sight and the search for the doctor leads to finding of doctor on emergency duty playing carom with the colleagues. Obviously, this lackadaisical attitude of the doctor is enough to boil the patient party and to let their temper loose. And with the state of mind prevailing at that time and their lack of knowledge that the doctors can be sued under Section 2(1) (o) of CPA (Consumers Protection Act), 1986 for their negligence, they take the law into their own hands and starts assaulting the medic and here I guess, it is the lackadaisical attitude of the doctor and the ignorance of the patient towards CPA that has to be blamed.

These are just two situations among so many others that may lead people to assault the doctors. Here, the need of hour is to understand what usually leads to assault on medicos? We have to isolate such situations and try to address the issues properly. In case if a person feels that there has been negligence on the part of medicos, one should go to Consumers Court instead of manhandling the medicos and medicos on their part should try to reduce the communication gap between the patient and themselves and also should see to it that they are not negligent towards their duty. After all, a life of person is always at stake when some patient is brought to them. If both the people and medicos understand this, we may see quite a downfall in assault cases on medicos.


  • yasiyalow

    Manhandling and taking law into owns hand needs to be discouraged and condemned. However, to say doctors are rendering selfless service sounds bit too much. Especially in Arunachal where inspite of drawing hefty salaries, they charge exhorbitant fees from poor patient. What to say of their pricey behaviour. Violence as such needs to be condemned, however doctors also needs to introspect, and administration needs to find out and study as to what caused such outburst.
    AG, keep posting news about happenings in AP. Gud work.


    I agree with yasiyalow. The people must know about a stuff called humanity. Mostly educated persons must handle the situation like this properly so that these incidents do not occur future in the future. It is our duty.

    When it comes for the government work, police must be alert and vigil. It should quickly find the culprits who were involved in the manhandling cases. Or else the future of the respective towns will go worse as we cannot imagine a world without doctors.

    Doctors must take into account that they are really treated next to God in Arunachal. So, they must response in a right way and approach to the poor patients' family. They must know there own duty.

    If we need to see a Developed Arunachal, we need to take much care about these matters seriously and act in the best way possible.

  • AG

    @ Yasiyalow, did I sounded too much in saying doctors are rendering selfless service? May be because I too put them in high esteem. But on second thought, and seeing clinics sprawling up everywhere-now I've to admit that they are providing service for the money ;) and not selflessly as I thought before.

    Yes you are almost there. As yasiyalow said medicos must also introspect themselves before resorting to threatening, people should restrain themselves from such activities and instead knock the door of CPA if they feel the medicos are negligent towards their duty and the administration should actually analyse the cause for such outburst and try to address the cause instead of succumbing to pressure.

  • Anonymous

    In most cases of manhandling doctors arises due to lackadiascal attitude of doctors, one never bother weather they serve for money or not. everyone know whats the state of mind during emergency cases.

  • AG

    I couldn't agree more than you on that, anonymous.

  • Buru

    While unlawful behavior of public is reflective of our uncivilised society, many a doctors in AP are equally uncivilised.

    But the fact is--while YY is correct in pointing out Doctors defects---all these faults are seen in much higher degrees in other departments in AP.
    For eg .Do you think doctors make more money via illegal route or a JE/AE/CO/BDO/AO/SDO/SI/ASI/SP/HO/EO/you name it?

    How many times have you been asked for a bribe by a doctor and how many times by any of the above(One Dr Basar asked 4 money in GH NLG for surgey of my mother and also a distant cousin)?

    How many times did you feel a doctor misbehaved/disrespected you(yes some are too arrogant) and how many times the other fellows?
    How many doctors did you see building palatial homes/market complexes within 2-3 years of service?
    I think doctors doing private practice outside of duty hours should not be condemned provided they do their official work properly.

    So the reason why doctors get assaulted are many--but the most important one is that they are soft targets without defense.
    Some places like Koloriang and Raga had to make-do without doctors for upto a decade because the doctors refused to serve there in view of frequent and unprovoked asaults.

  • AG

    The point here is not about who is making more money via illegal routes-the doctors or JE/AE/CO/BDO/etc., etc. But the point under discussion is why doctors are manhandled? And here I've just tried to highlight some situations that may actually lead to assault of medicos.

    And I don't agree with you that doctors doing private practice after duty hours shouldn't be condemned. Tell me why they shouldn't be. Don't they get NPA? Just for analogy sake, do you really think a teacher would concentrate on students at class if the teacher is taking private tutions after class hours?

  • Buru

    AG actually I was replying to other posters in general rather than at your original post;)

    But re the private practice thing:

    Idealism is one thing, practicality another.
    See, an MO on joining after so many years of study and expenditure will earn around 15-17K PM.He likely would have been a topper and sees his colleagues in the jobs I mentioned above 'earning' waaay more than he does because of the easy access to funds etc in those jobs. As a class A officer he is expected in our society to spend at par with them. Only solution(unless you are Buddha): Taking bribes from patients(I already gave one example though that fellow took out of greed not need).

    While this should not happen in an ideal situation this is a fact.The Doctor should not be penalised when other professions are minting money---after all the doctor is WORKING (and not collecting bribes)after duty hours and this is not corruption in true sense but maybe slightly morally objectionable.

    Of course this is conditional to these:
    1.The NPA of such doctors should be withdrawn, and deducted for any past practices too(its around 800bucks PM only I heard).
    2.Doctors should be regular in OPD and not practice when he is posted @night duty.
    3.Maybe a balancing mechanism(eg doctor--Village council monthly meeting)to prevent doctor negligence/absenteism and doctor manhandling be created informally.Maybe village councils/town committees should have(legal) right to deny Pvt practice to any lackadaisical doctor for a certain period of time by majority decision?

  • AG

    Buru, I do agree with you that 100% ideal situation can never be achieved but that doesn't mean that for all practical purposes, we shouldn't inch towards idealism. Here what seems to be at fault is the superficial status that we try to maintain because of demand of the society making us susceptible to unfair means of making more money ignoring our responsibility towards our duty. If we overcome this, I guess we may very well inch towards an ideal situation where people doesn't spend because he is a Class A Officer but because he needs to and has the power to spend from their white money. And if this is achieved, which doesn't seem to be at sight though, there would be no need of balancing mechanism etc., and there would be no manhandling of medicos or the JE's/AE's/CO's/BDO's.....etc., etc.

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