‘Attending a Patient FIRST is More Important than Meeting a DKZP President’ say Doctors

‘Attending a Patient FIRST is More Important than Meeting a DKZP President’ say Doctors

‘Attending a Patient FIRST is More Important than Meeting a Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shanthigodu’, said Doctors belonging to Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association-DK, and Indian Medical Association-Mangaluru, during a press meet held at Mangaluru Press Club.

Mangaluru: A press meet was held at Mangaluru Press Club by a few board members of Indian Medical Association- Mangaluru, and Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association-DK to condemn the recent improper and abusive behaviour of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat President  Meenakashi Shanthigodu on a young doctor who was on duty attending a patient at Government Hospital-Puttur. Recalling the incident which took place in Puttur Govt hospital, where a video which has viral on social media, where DK Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Santhigodu, who had paid a courtesy visit to the hospital on June 29, had taken a duty doctor Dr Archana Karikala. In the video, the doctor is seen patiently answering the loud mouth  Meenakshi, saying that she was attending other patients, but  Meenakshi was in no mood to be pacified by the answers- and she kept on spitting out abusive words towards the doctor- which is very appalling whoever saw the video.

Addressing the media persons, Dr Deepak Rai- Government Medical Officer in Puttur said, “This is not the FIRST time that  Meenakshi Shanthigodu has insulted and used abusive words against doctors at the Govt Hospital in Puttur- she has in the past had shown the same kind of aggressive attitude towards two other doctors on duty, during her visit to the hospital. This time, on 29 June, Meenakshi had come to the hospital to meet and inquire about the health of a minor girl who was reportedly assaulted by the police at the Puttur Police Station. However, the ZP president wanted to gain mileage out of her visit and hence went on to meet Dr Archana Karikala who was on duty attending a patient, and raised the issue of why the doctor did not visit the girl when she was in the ward, and also why the doctor didn’t come out to meet and greet her”

“Even though the doctor was trying to explain  Meenakshi that she was attending a patient, but that didn’t convince her, instead Meenakshi repeatedly used abusive words against the doctor, which has very much hurt her feelings- and also that the doctor is expecting a child, this has led her into slight depression, due to the humiliation from the Zilla Panchayat president. Chances are that with all the criticisms and abusive language she faced from this Zilla Panchayat lady, the doctor may even resign from her post, and then there will be no pediatrician in the Puttur Govt hospital. Every patient who visits this hospital likes Dr Archana, and many a time she goes out of her way in helping the needy. Sometimes she brings food from her home, and gives it to the poor patients and their kith and kin. And when such a kind-hearted, polite and respectful doctor gets insulted with abusive language, is very disheartening and very appalling. Even Puttur Women’s Police did not file a strong case against ZP president because the person against whom the complaint was being lodged is an elected representative. In this regard, strict action against the Zilla Panchayat President has been demanded by Indian Medical Association (IMA), Puttur division, for barging into the Puttur Government Hospital and unnecessarily taking a duty doctor to task ” added Dr Deepak Rai.

Also speaking on the occasion, Dr Rajeshwari Devi- Superintendent at Govt Wenlock Hospital, Mangaluru said, “This is a mockery of health care fraternity by a responsible and elected government representative in DK Zilla Panchayat. At Wenlock Hospital, we also get hundreds of patients every day, but many a time people are not happy with the services we give, and that too, free. Simple cases of illness take few minutes for treatment, while major cases need more time, due to scanning and other procedures- and during such cases, we get all kind of abuses from the patient’s families or friends. And pertaining to the incident that took place in Puttur, where the whole incident was videotaped and posted on social media by the ZP president is condemnable, and we urge such kind of mistakes should not occur in future”.

“Also the comment made by the ZP President that the doctor was not attending the girl since she was SC/ST is far from the truth. At Govt hospitals, doctors treat everyone equally irrespective of caste, religion or creed. For any person with such a post in a govt sector to make such comments is very shameful and disgraceful. Also that Meenakshi Shanthigodu recorded the episode and released it on social media, thereby defaming the doctor, is not all right. Due to all these attacks on doctors recently, and now abusive behaviour from a ZP chief, many don’t want to take up the doctor’s profession, out of fear. We urge the govt to come up with a law that would punish severely those who attack or abuse health care fraternity” added Dr Rajeshwari Devi.

Dr Shivaprakash- senior surgeon at Govt Wenlock Hospital-Mangaluru, and also district representative for the Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association said, “We have already submitted our complaints to various concerned departments to take suitable action on this incident. We have also met Meenakshi Shanthigodu and asked her that she apologizes to Dr Archana, for which Meenakshi agreed to do so in the presence of Puttur MLA soon. We also want her to apologize for her comments that Doctors don’t use common sense. But we know who didn’t use common sense?? If these two demands are not met, we will think of future protests soon, until justice is served. We will take up an intense protest if justice is denied in this case. The doctor should not be humiliated for no reasons-when we give respect and care for the patients, we look forward to the same gesture from the people we serve”.

Dr B Sachidananda-the President of Indian Medical association-Mangaluru said, “Mangaluru branch of Indian Medical Association strongly condemns the abusive behavior of Meenakshi Shantigodu, the President of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat with Dr. Archana Karikala, a duty doctor at Government hospital, Puttur recently. With a reason of enquiring about patient’s health Shantigodu has threatened and abused the sincerely working Dr Archana, which has caused inconvenience in the care of patients. This irresponsible behavior of Zilla Panchayat President has caused immense pain to doctors and the public. We request the administration to take serious note of this shameful incident, take stringent action against the offender and prevent such events in the future so that doctors could work in a safe environment”.

Dr Naveen, also a surgeon at Govt Wenlock Hospital, and Treasurer of Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association-DK; and Dr Julian Saldanha- RMO of Govt Wenlock Hospital were also present during the press meet.

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