A lady doctor was ruthlessly beaten up by over a dozen men at Lalla Ded — the premier maternity hospital in Kashmir — after a patient delivered a dead baby on Monday morning. The incident took place after a 32-year-old patient from the Charar-i-Sharief locality in Budgam district delivered a stillborn baby — born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy — in the hospital. This is a point to consider that it was just the 24th week of pregnancy which is anyways critical for the baby.
“The patient had a precious pregnancy after four years of marriage. We can understand their anxiety and anger after this unfortunate natural death but attacking doctors is hooliganism,” said a doctor at the hospital. Eyewitnesses said the attendants of the patient got enraged and called their relatives to attack the doctors.
While most of the doctors left the operation theatre to avoid the attack, the victim doctor was caught in the corridor and beaten up ruthlessly. “She was supposed to join duty at 10 am but for her patient, she had come at 8.30 am and was caught by men in the corridor and beaten up ruthlessly,” said Dr. Shabir Siddique, medical superintendent of the Lalla Ded hospital.
“A lady doctor was beaten up by sticks by a group of men at the Lalla Ded hospital after the delivery of a stillborn baby. The doctor has received multiple injuries and bruises all over her body. This is the 60th case of violence against doctors this year and there is no word from the government,” said Dr. Imtiyaz Banday, Doctors Association Kashmir spokesperson.
Fearing assault, the doctors, mostly females, stayed away from the labor room where a number of pregnant women in critical condition were admitted. The assailants didn’t allow the doctors to conduct the round of the labor room, making other patients suffer, eyewitnesses said.
Meanwhile, doctors have demanded strict action under law against the attackers. Siddique said the hospital administration had filed a police case against the attackers and constituted a committee to ascertain the reasons which led to the death of the baby. However, deputy medical superintendent, Lalla Ded hospital, Dr Farah Shafi said the baby suffered an intrauterine death which turned the family violent.
Later, Doctors carrying banners assembled on the premises of Government Medical College, Srinagar, to protest the attack on their colleague.
The protesting doctors demanded action against the assailants and end to violence against them.
“The government should take action to discourage such attacks on doctors in government hospitals. If such rowdies are not put behind bars and stringently dealt with the law of the land, social degradation is bound to happen. It is due to the constant threat of hooligans, a large number of specialists are leaving the state,” said a protesting doctor.
The Doctors Association Kashmir has been repeatedly asking the government to bring an ordinance to make violence against doctors a non-bailable offense. Last week, two doctors were beaten up in two separate incidents by attendants for lack of healthcare infrastructure in two south Kashmir’s hospitals. Violence against doctors in the Valley is on the rise. Nearly 60 doctors have been attacked in the past eight months in hospitals across Kashmir following deaths of patients or lack of health facilities. More than 80% doctors say that they have faced some form of abuse in the last one year.
“How can people roam in the hospital wielding sticks and beat anyone who comes in their way. The unfortunate part is that the Lall Ded hospital administration has shown no seriousness in addressing the recurrent attacks on doctors. Our doctors have been left on their own,” said Dr Faizan, spokesperson, Resident Doctors Association.