A recent incident where a mob killed a retired 73-year-old doctor at a tea estate in Assam has yet again brought the sensitive issue of doctors’ safety to the limelight.
Violence against doctors is on the rise in India. Many factors contribute to this issue. Scarcity of doctors in many areas meagre government spending on healthcare, poor infrastructure and expensive treatment costs, contribute highly to emotional outbursts by people.
People approach doctors with high, sometimes unrealistic expectations and if something goes wrong, their disappointment and grief translate into anger directed at the doctor.
However, nothing can justify taking law in our hands and killing a person who, otherwise, is only involved with saving lives. Doctors need protection and along with improving the present medical infrastructure, the government needs to bring in stringent regulations in place for this.
The government’s proposal to deal with assaults on doctors on duty and vandalisation of hospital premises with fines and imprisonment, ill help instil the fear of law and help salvage the deteriorating situation. The bill proposes a jail term of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh as punishment for these offences.
The Ministry has asked for feedback from the public on how to improve the draft and this can be an important step in garnering public trust and involvement in this process.
Doctors are as human as the humans they work hard to save. By harming them, no purpose gets achieved.