ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Protection for Medical Professionals

Has India Done Enough?

Protection for Medical Professionals

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, when the recovery of the nation is contingent on doctors and healthcare personnel risking their lives every day, we must examine whether there is an equitable quid pro quo in terms of receiving service and providing protection. The causes of the antagonism between patients and doctors leading to violence against medical professionals are highlighted, and the efficiency of the legislations enacted for the protection of medicare professionals in India is examined. Finally, recommendations to remedy the deficiencies are provided.

 

The brutal alleged assault on junior doctors Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani at the Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College in Kolkata sparked national outrage, prompting the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to call for a nationwide strike (Deshpande 2019). This incident is not an isolated one in India considering 75% of doctors in the country have faced work-related violence according to IMA’s ongoing survey, with similar trends seen worldwide (Dey 2015). While there is a tide of nationwide solida­rity with healthcare personnel in the wake of the current pandemic, there is also a worrying rise of violence against them due to frustration resulting from COVID-19 deaths (Dwary and Dey 2020). Doctors do not have access to personal protection equipment, and have additionally been subjected to violence, such as being pelted by stones and spat at during the ongoing pandemic (Aggarwal 2020).

A sincere endeavour has been made to seek answers to some questions in this regard. (i) Why is there such a high rate of violence against doctors in India and worldwide? (ii) Is the Protection of Medicare Service Act a potent legislation, and if not, what are the factors that inhibit its implementation? (iii) Does the recent Consumer Protection Act, 2019 tilt the balance of favour against medical personnel and how? (iv) Do cases of complaints against doctors on the ground of negligence fall within the exception to the general rule of lodging a first information report (FIR) without doing a preliminary enquiry? (v) Is higher punishment for violence against doctors in itself an effective deterrent? and (vi) Finally, should apology laws and better security systems (like CCTV) be implemented?

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Updated On : 10th Aug, 2021

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