This time, angry kin slap intern at KEM

Less than a week after thousands of doctors went on strike to protest the lack of security personnel to protect them from angry kin, an intern was assaulted by the relatives of a patient, who died unexpectedly

Only last week, 2,500 resident doctors waged a three-day long strike in demand for better security measures in the state-run hospitals, after a member of their fraternity was allegedly beaten up by the angry kin of a deceased patient. But it seems that the strike was in vain, as d �j vu struck in the wee hours yesterday, when grieving relatives assaulted an intern on duty, after a patient Kunal Pise passed away at ward 29 of the KEM hospital. Pise, who was suffering from renal failure, died of a seizure.

Beaten Up? Not again: Some patients were left unattended at the KEM
Hospital, as doctors went on strike after a doctor was beaten up by the
deceased's relatives recently. FILE PIC

The father of the deceased, Gurubachan, was a retired employee of KEM hospital, and allegedly assaulted the intern on-duty, Dr Praveen Hankare.

According to the Association of the State Medical Interns (ASMI), Hankare, who was posted in the ward, made attempts to call his senior when Pise's condition started deteriorating at 3:30 am. Within minutes, however, Pise breathed his last. His    family members allegedly slapped Hankare. Since Gurubachan is an ex-union member, the hospital's union immediately abandoned work for at least two hours in the morning, and soon the outraged interns in the hospital followed suit, throwing services in the hospital in complete disarray. After the two bodies held a meeting to resolve their differences, both parties resumed work.

"The union members as well as the interns held a meeting with the dean of the hospital," said Dr Praveen Bangar of KEM hospital.

The hospital decided against filing a police complaint for violation of the Doctor Protection Act after the relatives submitted a written apology.

Dr Dhaval Shah, Mumbai coordinator of ASMI, said, "Matters went downhill when the union decided to involve itself in the matter. Interns are supposed to assist procedures, not handle patients and take unilateral decisions. The absence of the resident doctor raises questions about the treatment meted out to interns, and their exploitation. We are still working in our hospitals only in the interest of the patients, who were inconvenienced during our recent strike."

About the Doctor Protection Act
"The Doctors Patient Act clearly states that assaulting a doctor on duty is a non-bailable offence. It is a little-known act, although publicised in government gazettes. Cops at many police stations are unaware of the act, and often book offenders under other sections of the IPC," said Dr Pravin Shingare, director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

The punishment can lead to imprisonment upto three years. Any person booked under the act is liable to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 in addition to twice the amount of damages sustained by the hospital property. 

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