Patient Dies, Relatives Thrash KEM Doctor
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25 August 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Medical services at the city’s largest civic–run hospital, KEM, came to a standstill on Tuesday after a group of angry relatives bashed up a doctor. About 400–odd post–graduate students–cum–doctors of the hospital went on a strike demanding an FIR against the alleged offenders.
It all started at 11 am after the death of Mangala Ekhande (55) who, hospital doctors claimed, was an "endstage" patient of renal failure. She was brought to the hospital in a critical condition on Monday afternoon.
According to her son, Arun, when Mangala was gasping for breath, Dr Tushar Dhakate did not show any urgency to treat her. "We pleaded with the doctor but he simply asked us to stand outside the ward," he said.
First–year general medicine PG student Dhakate, however, had a different story to tell. He said that as Mangala’s condition deteriorated, both her sons were not by her side. He claimed that the patient was in an unconscious state and barely recognised any of her family members. "Only her husband was sitting near her in her last moments. We explained everything to him and started the paper work to hand over the body," he said.
Dhakate said that as he was going for lunch, Mangala’s elder son, Anand, entered ward 4 with four more people. And, before he could understand anything, Anand allegedly punched his face. "As I fell on the ground, they rained blows on me," Dhakate said. According to Dhakate’s colleagues, he sustained serious injuries and multiple bruises on his body.
"His nose was bleeding profusely and he was trembling in fear," said another doctor. Dhakate said he had been on emergency duty since the last 48 hours. "Though I was attending to other patients, I was keeping a close watch on her," he said.
As the word spread on the campus, resident doctors immediately struck work. Emergency services as well as treatment of patients were left to senior doctors and interns. "We will not resume work until we have a copy of the FIR in our hands," said Dr Ankush Kolhe, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), KEM Hospital.
"Even though the Act to protect doctors has come into effect, there is little willingness on the part of the police to lodge a complaint and take action," he said.
Incidentally, following the violence, Anand was sitting outside the dean’s office. "This angered many of us as it shows how ineffective laws for doctors are," said another doctor adding that the police initially caught the wrong offender.
KEM Hospital deputy dean Dr N D Bhonsale said an internal inquiry had been initiated. "We have also informed the cops,’’ he added.
In April this year, the state assembly passed the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institution (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, making attack on any doctor or hospital staffer a non–bailable offence that might result in imprisonment for three years and fine of Rs 50,000.