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Drawing Blood

Poor public health services are pitting doctors and patients against each other.

Doctors are under siege; patients are aggrieved. This is essentially what is being played out in public hospitals, most recently in Maharashtra where last month, in five separate incidents, doctors in public hospitals were assaulted by angry relatives of patients alleging negligence. Similar incidents have been reported from Delhi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Bulandshahr and Chennai in the last couple of years. Such violence against doctors is not peculiar to India. Lancet and the British Medical Journal report increasing attacks on doctors in the Indian subcontinent and China.

The common thread running through these incidents is that most attacks occur in public hospitals where the resources are stretched thin to cover a large section of the population and the doctors (mostly junior) are too overworked to deal empathetically with anxious and tense patients’ relatives. An Indian Medical Association 2015 survey of 500 doctors found that nearly 75% of the respondents had faced attacks and intimidation.

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Updated On : 28th Aug, 2017

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