No one saves the Saviours
Handling violence now a part of a doctor’s job?
Tw: mentions of d*ath, instances and descriptions of violence
COVID has waged a war in the country, turning hospitals into battlegrounds in the blink of an eye. Poor infrastructure, a collapsing healthcare system and absence of basic medical resources have troubled thousands of patients and their families. Struck by grief and helplessness, people look for the easiest means to let out their frustration, and doctors receive the brunt of it.
Delhi - Doctors at Apollo hospital in Sarita Vihar attacked by relatives of a recently deceased covid-19 patient.
Assam - A doctor at a coronavirus facility mercilessly hit with metal cans and bricks
Karnataka - A 50 year old doctor attacked and beaten up after the death of a 6 year old dengue patient.
Jharkhand - Health Workers visiting khunti district to promote the vaccine drive were attacked by villagers.
Is it really fair to make these saviours pay the price of poor administration?
Doctors not Gods
“Doctors are simple human beings and their stethoscopes are not magic wands, especially right now when the medical infrastructure is crumbling under pressure.” says Ria Munish, MBBS.
In a power dynamic where we entrust our loved ones lives in the hands of the healthcare professionals, it is often easy to pedestalize them. It attaches unrealistic expectations of miraculous recovery as soon as a patient is admitted into the hospital. Despite all intentions sometimes a patient succumbs to the disease, and the doctors are penalized by the family.
“What they don’t get is, just as a soldier can’t fight off the enemy without guns, A doctor is no magician. We can’t help you without our weapons. Resources.”
When patients lose their lives due to lack of proper medical equipment blaming doctors just serves one purpose- veiling the underlying lack of accountability from the government.
Treatment is possibly only when the required resources are available. This is where the government needs to take responsibility and assimilate these resources, something it has failed to do miserably. Once again, the doctors become the sounding boards.
"The incidences of healthcare violence have increased over the years and have become widespread and the dreaded entity poses to be threat to the medical practice," the IMA stated in a letter they wrote to the home minister, Amit Shah.
They have requested him to bring in action a law to combat violence against the healthcare workers. They have also appealed that the assault incidents be booked under the Epidemic Act and these cases be put on fast track in order to get a faster verdict.
‘’Each clinic must be provided by a police officer by the government’’ suggests Dr Yashovardhan Patel
Violence against doctors has been a historic problem plaguing the medical community. But at a time when these healthcare professionals are the only thread holding together our society, these assault acts threaten to sever that last hope. After all they’ve done, if doctors have to live in constant fear for their lives, then our healthcare system is really on its knees.
~ Noor Sehgal