‘Take Patient Problems in Suitable Manner & NOT by Abusing/Attacking Us’ Request Doctors
Mangaluru: A press meet was held on Friday, 4 June 2021 at the IMA Hall, Mangaluru, where doctor members belonging to the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) -Mangaluru chapter briefed the media personal regarding – Persistent Atmosphere of fear and hostile working atmosphere for Doctors managing Covid cases in Private Hospitals – Recent incidents of assault and abuse of doctors in Mangaluru and cases booked; Allegations by patient family and complaints against Doctors with police about denial of treatment to Covid patients. The dignitaries present during the press meet were Dr K R Kamath- President of AMC, Mangaluruand Vice President, IMA Karnataka; Dr Laxman Prabhu G G -President-Elect 2021-22 AMC-Mangaluru Chapter; Dr Sathish Bhat- Chairperson- Medico-Legal Cell, AMC Mangaluru and Dr Yusuf Kumble- Executive member of AMC, Mangaluru and MD of Indiana Hospital, Mangaluru
The following explanation was given by the above doctors present during the press meet, including Dr Priya Ballal-Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KMC-Mangaluru and Lady Goschen Hospital, Mangaluru; Dr Muralidhar Yadiyal-Professor of Medicine, KMC Mangaluru and Wenlock Hospital; and Dr Jayaprakash-Consultant Intensivist, Mnagaluru:
As you would know, more than 1000 Doctors have passed away due to Corona, while serving society as frontline warriors across the country. Karnataka right now continues to be in the top 2-3 states for Corona cases in India. DK district is having close to 1000 cases daily during the second wave, even though the stringent restrictions have been in force for more than a month. While the number of deaths with other frontline Covid warriors is less this time unlike in the first wave, Health care workers who have died due to Corona refuse to decline. Over the last few days, many of our members have contacted us about their concern and fear in handling the behaviour of relatives of critically ill patients admitted with Corona in various private hospitals of Mangaluru.
This is different from the situation in the past, as we are in the middle of a pandemic. By now all know well, no country in the world can be completely prepared during a pandemic, with complete facilities for every person who falls sick. This is the harsh truth. In such a situation, when Family members get emotional, is it fair to make the Doctors the face of their anger, especially if Hospital Beds, Oxygen supply, Ventilator/ICU Beds or Critical Medicines are not available? In one incident at Indiana Hospital on May 19th, a patient’s relative forced himself into an ICU and abused the Hospital manager and Lady Doctor attending the patient. A police complaint was made the same day, but it was registered only as an NC complaint. Following the death of a high risk 60 yr patient in Mangala Hospital, despite 2 weeks of treatment, there was an abuse of hospital staff, vandalism in Casualty even after the bulk of lawfully raised invoice was reduced by 3/4th. A police complaint was lodged last year, on 17.9.20 and FIR 0083/2020 at Kadri PS was registered. There was major defamation on Social Media by the accused, but to date, police have not arrested him, and Epidemic Act stringent sections were not included in the FIR.
Most disturbing is the defamation and allegations on the entire Medical Fraternity following the treatment provided to an 8-month pregnant lady who developed complications after Covid infection that needed ventilator care and termination of pregnancy. Delay in following instructions of the Doctor led to a desperate situation where complex treatment was needed but they could get it only after visiting 5-6 hospitals. Now, this has led to allegations of mistreatment with abuse & threat to Doctors, with the arrest of a few of their family and friends One Mrs Khadeeja Jasmine, initially called her Gynaecologist Dr Priya Ballal on 17 May 2021 complaining of cough, cold and fever. She did not follow the advice given – to do a Covid test and come with a report immediately for a checkup. But, she came to the hospital two days later when breathing trouble developed, even after which she again declined to follow advice, and stayed home against advice a second time.
By the time she came the next day for admission, finding a hospital bed with Ventilator in Covid ICU and a facility to do the Caesarean section became very difficult. Where it was available, they did not want treatment, and where they agreed to take treatment, bed was not available when they reached. This led to further delay and deterioration, and eventually, a healthy baby was delivered by Caesarean section in Lady Goschen hospital on 20 May 2021. Thanks to the heroic support provided by Doctors in difficult situations, the mother also recovered after another week. What was unfortunate was the blame game after delivery, on the very Doctors who were treating her, which turned to allegations by the mother that Doctors are obstructing treatment (removed mask) and trying to kill her.
Her attenders called the Doctors to discuss, and then manhandled, abused, threatened with bodily harm and fatal attack to three of the Doctors. Ironically these are the very people who were most responsible for saving her life, as well as of unborn child. They changed hospitals twice even after delivery. Though Doctors went with a complaint against the mob on 23.5, FIR was registered only the next day, but the arrest was not done for the entire week, despite the entire incident being captured on CCTV. We find it difficult to understand the failure of the police department to follow clear cut guidelines as per law:
1. Prevention of Hospital Violence Act 2009
2. Epidemic Act Ordinance 2020 and Disaster Management Act 2020
3. SOP by DGP Karnataka dated 18.5.2017 with SOP on dealing with violence against Medical Professionals and Medical Establishments
4. Letter by DGP Karnataka Mr. Praveen Sood dated 25.5.2021 about taking every case of assault against Medical Professionals working in the Hospital.
During this pandemic, It is very clear that loss of life happening in Hospitals is unexpected, and inevitable to an extent. Even a letter by DGP mentions this. However, this does not give license to family members to assault Doctors and support staff. If there is an allegation of Negligence OR other complaints, there are enough avenues to lodge a complaint against treatment provided. Just because investigation and delivery of justice may take time as per due process, taking Law into one’s own hands is unacceptable, and if done they will pay with the consequences. It is ironic that those doing this claim respect the Constitution of India. Making wild allegations and sensational claims through Media will only result in further cases of defamation being registered. Threatening police to take action by having protests during this pandemic outside Doctor’s clinic/house will be met with a suitable response as per law.
It is foolish to imagine police taking action on allegations, just because they are made with sensational claims, where there is enough evidence to the contrary. To help you understand we will illustrate some of the shortcomings/problems created by the patient, their family and those trying to help: A. Here is a list of LIES made to sensationalize the allegations
1. Whenever any patient is unhappy with Doctors, the police file a case on the victims (sufferers). This is how strong MEDICAL MAFIA is.
2. Patient had absolutely no symptoms and she was fine … only abdominal pain. .it was only after the Mangala Hospital injection that she got serious.
3. Patient’s Lawyer says: In the background of the patient being refused treatment in so many hospitals, the threat being given by Doctors amounts to ‘kole yatna kole yatna da prayatna kole bedrike vu aagutte Medical Negligence vu aayitu Vyavasthe yalli kooda Negligence ide This is virtually becoming despotic/desperate. ‘
4. If they have to roam so many hospitals, it is a matter of Aatanka. This is a statement given by a “Social Worker” in a News report. After knowing there is a shortage of many essential services, if someone were to use such cheap language, you only decide whether they are a social worker OR an Anti-social worker!
5. Once Dr Priya Ballal was informed Covid Report is positive, she told the patient to stay at home AND she refused to see the patient until her covid has been cured.
6. Patient claims Dr Veena Bhat has contacted me on the phone with regards to this patient, Highland Hospital has contacted her.
7. KMC admitted us but refused treatment. We had to go to 8-9 Hospital for treatment. She was being treated like some goods, loading and unloading! In each subsequent hospital, (A) they were hiding past history and (B) patient condition was progressively worsening. Does this not make the work of Doctors more difficult to evaluate and plan? Who is responsible for this? They claim this is a district with highly Educated people, and among the best healthcare in the country, and she did not get a bed. Do they mean that they can go whenever they choose to, wherever they wish and expect the best possible treatment to be provided in that very hospital?
8. “We happened to meet Dr Murali when he came to Athena hospital at about 4:00 pm on the day after delivery. In fact, he was sent there by Dr Priya and they both have admitted to this” And then they say “jor joragi maatu aagide”.
9. In the press meet yesterday, when someone of you asked if they have taken help from Medical Associations, you have replied “he specifically says we have given appeal to Medical Association, we give to everyone.” List of Contradictions:
1. If a patient had no breathing trouble until she got admitted in Mangala on the 20th evening, why did they shift searching for a ventilator ICU bed from Attavar KMC to LGH to Athena before reaching Mangala?
2. Lawyer says denial to admit Covid patient is a violation of rules/Law. Does he not know that admitting a patient in the absence of a facility is a bigger violation? And using this half information, he says the licenses of Hospitals should be cancelled. By the same logic, once such an allegation is disproved, it is their license that may get cancelled.
3. Also by the same logic, once a patient needing admission has been seen by a Doctor, there is absolutely no reason to deny admission. So next time, once admission is not possible due to shortage of Oxygen, Beds, ICU Bed, Ventilator OR Lifesaving Drugs, we will inform the Organisation supporting them to arrange for the same. List of Violations by the patient: Covid Guidelines not followed.. About 10-15 violations have been committed To conclude,
1. Response by the patient and their attenders amounts to an offense, given the number of lies spoken on record by the ungrateful patient, her father and their lawyer, it merits a separate complaint against these three- A. Defamation B) Falsehood/Lies to create animosity/hatred against Corona warriors, instigating further abuse and violence, and create unrest in society during a pandemic – a violation under Epidemic Act & Disaster management Act. C) Violation of multiple Covid guidelines by the patient Mrs Khateeja Jasmine.
2. If violence and abuse against Doctors continue in these difficult times, when a Doctor is faced with a difficult case in a serious condition, Doctors will hesitate to take up difficult cases which they would otherwise have. This is just because of the fear of Abuse and violence. Eventually, the entire society will be losers, including us Doctors, because we also will become patients one day when we least expect it.
3. We urge police to strictly follow the Law to restore the faith of Doctors and help them take up high-risk cases without fear of violations. Help to educate the public that grievances can be taken up in a suitable manner, and using abuse or violence will result in imprisonment and hefty fines. We request all sections of society, especially the political leaders, administration and esp the Police department, to be sensitive to the issue of abuse and violence in Hospitals. So we can work for the betterment of all.
On a final thought this is what Dr Laxman Prabhu GG, also the Professor & HoD of Urology at KMC Hospital, Mangaluru had to share with Team Mangalorean making an appeal to the public, where he said,
“Public is requested to cooperate with doctors and not operate through self-styled leaders. The doctors always wish to give the best to them. These are difficult times. The public should learn to be patient and not take their frustrations on the medical fraternity. This will be counterproductive. Further, when the doctor suggests care in a higher centre, it is always in the interest of the patient and it should not be misunderstood.”