State of Doctors: Medicine Shortage & Assault Frequent in Delhi

Assault, verbal abuse and 36-hour shifts are common for doctors working at government hospitals in Delhi.

Updated18 Jul 2019, 12:19 PM IST
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Camerapersons: Mukul Bhandari & Shiv Kumar Maurya

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Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Despite being subjected to verbal abuse almost every day and working shifts which often extend to 36 hours, Dr Anjali* is not keen to switch to private practice.

In April 2019, a patient’s attendant slapped Dr Anjali after an argument about whether the hospital was administering the correct treatment to the patient.

“She was shouting as she said ‘I can get all of you suspended within five minutes. Who do you think you are?’ She went on saying things against doctors so I told her to be quiet. She then slapped me on my face.” 
Dr Anjali 

Violence and verbal abuse are commonplace struggles at Delhi’s RML Hospital, where Dr Anjali has been working since the past few years.

Although she has ten years of experience as a medical practitioner, Dr Anjali isn’t considering switching to private practice anytime soon. She is driven by a passion to serve people and takes one day at a time.

“Even before having tea we have to think ten times when we are working continuously for 10-13 hours at the emergency ward.” 
Dr Anjali 

Though Delhi enacted a new law in 2008 which prohibited violence against medicare professionals, assault of doctors remains unabated.

The new system of institutional FIRs in cases of violence against doctors is also not helpful with the police hardly making any arrests.

“Law is there but no one follows it. The accused was not called (by the police) I was called one or two times nothing came out of that institutional FIR.” 
Dr Anjali

At Hindu Rao Hospital, doctors are worried about the shortage of medicine stocks.

“We are running PG courses here and we don’t have medicines for loose motions and vomiting.” 
Dr Rahul Choudhary, President, Hindu Rao Resident Doctors’ Association

Dr Choudhary, who has been practicing medicine since 2011, claims that the hospital is not well-equipped to handle patients who are in a critical condition.

“One serious patient came into the emergency ward with chronic stage-V kidney disease. This patient immediately needed the ventilator but in our emergency ward, no ventilator is available.”   
Dr Rahul Choudhary, President, Hindu Rao Resident Doctors’ Association

Poor infrastructure is one of the main reasons behind the friction between doctors and patients’ attendants.

Even though the Delhi government has announced that it will appoint marshals in hospitals, the question remains: How will an additional layer of security help these crippling health institutions?

What’s the state of doctors in other parts of the country? Find out in our series:

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Published: 12 Jul 2019, 12:49 PM IST
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