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Patient's angry relatives attack nurse at Mumbai's KEM Hospital

Disgruntled relatives of an elderly patient attacked a nurse in the medicine ward of KEM Hospital last morning around 6.30 am. They alleged that the nurse wasn’t attending to their ailing kin. The patient, 67-year-old Gurucharan Singh Bavaite, was admitted to the hospital 10 days ago with brain haemorrhage, disclosed a sub-inspector from Bhoiwada police station. “Around 6 am, the relatives noticed that the food pipe attached to him needed to be changed. The patient also needed to urinate,” said the sub-inspector, requesting anonymity.

Jaya Kamlekar
Jaya Kamlekar, who was attacked by disgruntled kin of an elderly patient in the medicine ward of KEM Hospital

“The relatives alleged that when they approached the nurse Jaya Kamlekar, she did not pay any attention to the patient, and instead asked them to wait for a doctor to arrive,” he added. The family members approached the nurse again when Singh needed his dose of medication. When she told them that only the doctor would be able to administer it, the relatives lost their cool and started abusing the nurse.

Rashida, a relative of another patient present in the ward, said, “Three female relatives then proceeded to throw heavy files and registers at the nurse for not attending to their patient. They also tried to hit her.” After the attack, Kamlekar (42) was admitted to a room in a general ward, as her blood sugar levels shot up. While she refused to speak to this correspondent, her husband said, “She has been working with the hospital for the last two years and this is the first time something like this has happened to her. We have approached the police. She is fine now and did not sustain any injuries.”

A case was registered in Bhoiwada police station last evening under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. However, no arrests were made. The elderly patient was discharged from the hospital around 3.30 pm, while his relatives remained unavailable for comment. “We could not take any action against the family as the patient’s condition is serious. A case has been filed against the three women who hit the nurse and further investigations are now on,” said the sub inspector.

Dean clarifies
Dr Shubangi Parkar, the acting dean of KEM hospital, said that she was immediately alerted about the incident, following which she held a meeting with Kamlekar and other nurses of the hospital. “The incident took place due to miscommunication between the nurse and relatives. The kin were obviously upset as their patient was in a serious condition and I explained to the nurses that they should effectively communicate with the kin in future to avoid any confusion.”

Under attack
This year, medical staff were assaulted by disgruntled relatives in three different civic hospitals, after which doctors and nurses had demanded for additional security guards outside the wards and the ICU.

January 31: A doctor and security guard posted at the ICU of Bandra’s Bhabha hospital were beaten up by the kin of an accident victim, who succumbed to his injuries a few hours after he was admitted.

February 25: A nurse and doctor at Rajawadi hospital were beaten up by the kin of an accident victim in Ghatkopar. In the third instance, a resident doctor in civic-run Sion hospital was slapped by a family friend of a relative in the medicine ward.  

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