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Criminalism against Doctors

Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Pathology, Microbiology, Forensic Medicine, Otorhinolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Community Medicine, General Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Orthopaedics, Anaesthesiology — these are the list of subjects in the curriculum of MBBS that a medical student learns apart from the clinical postings which teach him patient care, empathy, decision making etc. A well-structured course as it might seem. But, off late, it’s being observed that there is a deficit in the medical curriculum, it fails to teach SELF-DEFENCE to medical students to live as doctors in the country with violence against doctors increasingly becoming more as a norm than an exception!

Of the many cases, this article is dedicated to Dr Abhishek Kumar Jha, who is battling for life at the critical care unit of the R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, where he was attending to patients not too long back. Despite being good enough to join post-graduation at PGI, Chandigarh, he chose to be a surgical resident at RGKMCH, to see more patients. But fate made him a patient now (or was it just fate?!). He was reportedly attacked by a mob of around 50 people who battered him so severely that in addition to external injuries, he lost the function of both his kidneys.

The reason being told is that, he attended to four persons injured in an accident in the emergency department of RGKMCH along with his colleague Dr Ragini Sonkar. Three of the four were discharged after treatment while the fourth was advised to get a CT scan done. But fourth patient reportedly didn’t follow the advice and left the hospital. Later he was brought back dead by a mob of 50 who beat the doctor.

The death of Deepak Singh (the fourth patient) must have been due to some serious internal injury during the road traffic accident. The doctor had given the primary care and had promptly advised a CT scan. Even if he had been negligent, how can he be beaten to near death for it? It is only appropriate to book a case against him and prove him guilty in the court. Isn’t that the standard procedure to be followed in a democratic country like ours? It is told that Dr Ragini Sonkar was rescued from the mob and locked up in an operation theatre to safeguard her.

Though we severely condemn this incident, we also feel that merely condemning such criminal acts have not changed the scenario much. It’s high time that the police and the courts take appropriate measures so that the guilty could soon be brought to book. If need be the legislatures could also pass necessary laws so as to protect the life of doctors and help stem the sorry tide of increasing violence against doctors before this deteriorates into serious social chaos.

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