Kerala HC calls for strict action against those who attack doctors
The court said that it was unfortunate that people show up to hospitals in inebriated states seeking medical aid and then assault the doctors who are treating them.
Thiruvananthapuram: To ensure the safety of health professionals from assaults and prevent people from taking law into their hands, a "quick response" from the police is necessary, the Kerala High Court said on Thursday while directing the state police to "react swiftly" whenever it receives complaints from hospitals regarding attacks on its doctors or staff.
The direction was issued by a bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath, which was hearing a review petition filed by the Kerala Private Hospitals Association in relation to the COVID-19 treatment charges fixed by the state for treatment of coronavirus in private hospitals.
On the last date of hearing, the private hospitals association and the Indian Medical Association had raised the issue of attacks on doctors, nurses and other staff by patients or bystanders and the court, while strongly disapproving of such incidents, directed the state to ensure protection to the healthcare workers, including doctors. On Thursday, the bench impleaded the state police chief in the matter saying his assistance would also be required to address the issue.
The court said that it was unfortunate that people show up to hospitals in inebriated states seeking medical aid and then assault the doctors who are treating them. The court directed the DGP of Kerala to instruct all district police chiefs, who in turn have to instruct the respective SHOs, to "react swiftly and quickly" to complaints by hospitals of assaults on or altercations with their doctors and nurses by patients, their helpers or bystanders. The court said a speedy investigation should be ensured in such matters and "stringent action" should be taken against the culprits.
"There is a necessity to react quickly to such complaints," the bench said.
The court also remarked that such incidents of assaults undermine the morale and courage of the healthcare workers. Multiple incidents of doctors being attacked in hospitals has been reported rampantly in the recent past in Kerala. The latest in the line was the incident which took place on August 14 at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram where two patients allegedly in inebriated condition, hurled slippers at a doctor. Earlier in August, a doctor was assaulted by men who sought treatment in another Thiruvananthapuram hospital, saying they 'would have pinned her to the wall if she was a man'. The same month, another doctor in a hospital in the same district was attacked by four men for asking to follow COVID-19 protocol.
In July, a doctor in Alappuzha's Kainakary filed a complaint that he was allegedly attacked by CPI(M) leaders in the region. On May 14, a doctor from Mavelikkara was assaulted by a police officer, who was the bystander of a patient, his mother, who was brought dead to the hospital.