BENGALURU: The harassment committee of Indian Medical Association, Karnataka branch has received 10 complaints of doctors being abused verbally or physically by patients or their attenders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, cases of violence were reported from Civil Hospital in Belagavi, and KC General and Jayadeva hospitals in Bengaluru.
“We receive at least two such complaints every month, while several other cases don’t come to our notice. There have been instances of physicians referring patients to higher centres of treatment but it is resented by patients, who believe they are not treated properly,” said Dr Ganesh Prasad, chairman, harassment committee, IMA Karnataka.
He pointed out a case in Mangaluru, where a patient believed that the RTPCR test which turned Covid-positive was actually false, and the hospital was giving the result to admit him and make money. He went on several social media platforms, tarnishing the image of both the doctor and the hospital.
With a virus like corona, the positive patient is stable when admitted, but his/her condition quickly deteriorates. Unable to understand why this happens and unaware of the severity of the virus, patients and attenders start abusing doctors, creating a sense of fear among the medical fraternity, he said.
“Higher-ups at hospitals do not support doctors when they have to register a police complaint. When IMA gives them moral support and helps them register a complaint, the police are lax in pursuing the case. Then we approach police commissioners, MLAs and home minister to take up the case,” said Dr Prasad, pointing out that of the 10 complaints, only two have resulted in FIRs.
The culprits often abscond with little interest from the police to locate them. There are two reasons why the medical fraternity is harassed, said Dr Suresh Kudva Kateel, a central working committee member, IMA. “It is happening in private hospitals because bills are high. In a government set-up, it is due to lack of facilities which leaves the patient unsatisfied and the doctors helpless,” said Dr Kateel.
“In government hospitals, if there is an X-ray machine, there is no lab technician. If there is an ambulance, there is no driver. The government is spending a lot of money but it is not being utilised optimally due to lack of interest. If they work together with the medical fraternity, we can sort issues out,” he said.