Overworked & Scared: Maharashtra Docs Continue Fight for Security

Overworked & Scared: Maharashtra Docs Continue Fight for Security

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Camera: Gautam Sharma and Ankita Sinha
Editor: Veeru Kishan Mohan

It’s been one year since 27-year-old Dr Atish Parikh, a third-year resident doctor from JJ Hospital in Mumbai, was brutally beaten by at least five family members of a patient. What did he do? He relayed the news of her death. The entire incident that was caught on CCTV camera, resulted in massive protests by doctors from across the state. They went on three-day strike and demanded security.

“While declaring the death to them, one of them blocked the wall from the inside so that no one could get in while the rest of them began to assault me. Initially, they began to hit me with their hands. Following which, they started destroying hospital property. They broke chairs and tables, they hit me a wooden stick that was broken off of a chair. I suffered a fracture to my left cheekbone and a tendon injury to my right hand, which is my operating hand. After this, I was admitted to JJ Hospital for a week.” 
Dr Atish Parikh

Also Read : State of the Doctor-Patient Relationship in TN

He may have recovered from his physical injuries but the trauma has stuck. Flashbacks of that day keep coming back to torment him. Violence against doctors is a recurring theme in Maharashtra. At least 58 doctors have been assaulted in government hospitals in the last three years, according to Maharashtra Association Resident Doctors sources.

Despite the government installing panic alarm systems in hospital wards and placing security personnel at more strategic locations, doctors still don’t feel safe. They chalk this down to one key reason- lack of infrastructure.
“The problem is not just a lack of security personnel but a lack of infrastructure. There are certain measures that are outside of the hands of doctors, we are bound by the infrastructure that is provided to us. Patients frustrations and frustrations in relatives need to be better tackled by grief counselling, dedicated centres for the same on hospital premises. Unfortunately, none of these are available. We need better financial aid.”
Dr Atish Parikh 

With just one resident doctor for approximately 60 patients, doctors end up working in a compromised state.

“What happens in a government hospital is that the work that has been allocated to a class 3 or class 4 worker is done by the residents. For example, when it comes to shifting patients to the OR, the residents shift the patients on the trolley and then shift them to the OR. That is not our job. We have to work because we have no class 3 and 4 workers there and the patient cannot be compromised at any level.”
Dr Shivang Shukla

“It is a very helpless feeling to feel scared for your life while you are in your space of work and as a resident doctor, it is also my home. It is my residence. Feeling scared in your home is a terrifying thing,” adds Dr Parikh while emphasising the urgent need for security and infrastructure that’s been long overdue for doctors.

Also Read : Doctors in Gorakhpur: Reality Check of The Conditions They Work In

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