Friday morning was an unusual day at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan which saw well-known doctors from the city and across Maharashtra gathering to protest against the brutal attack on resident doctor in Dhule earlier this week.
While usually it is the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) which has been at the helm of such protests earlier, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) – the largest body of doctors practising modern medicine – decided to hold a protest rally as it felt that it is high time that the government took the rising assault against doctors seriously.
“Nearly 1,000 doctors came to Azad Maidan today (Friday) even though 24-hour notice was given to them. IMA office-bearers had visited Dhule Civil Hospital to understand ground reality. We expected the administration to take some steps, but nothing has been done, which has forced us to hold this protest rally,” said Dr Shivkumar Utture, Treasurer, IMA (Maharashtra).
He said there is an urgent need for government to ensure that environment remains conducive for doctors to treat patients, especially in public sector hospitals.
“It will be difficult for doctors to treatment patients with fear of being beaten up by their relatives. In last three days, three incidents of doctor assault have been reported in Maharashtra. Aim of today’s protest rally is to make the government realise the urgency to look into the safety of doctors,” said Utture.
IMA’s protest rally was supported by other doctors association like FOGSI, MOGS, AMC, GPA among others.
“The administration has to take some concrete action against rising violence against doctors. These resident doctors are our future in health care. It will be difficult for them to render their services to patients in such fear. We need to act now so that our next generation is safe and is unafraid of taking up medicine as a career,” said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, President, President, Mumbai Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society.
Speaking at the protest rally, Sagar Dole, President of Association of Medical Interns (ASMI), said intern doctors at BYL Nair Hospital have created a WhatsApp group called Rapid Action Force for such situations.
“The group is used to alert us in case such incidents occur inside the hospital so that we can rush to save them. There is no security there. When we are outside the casualty, and if we see a mob approaching, the interns don’t wear aprons and try to hide their identity,” said Dole.
Representatives of IMA later met Girish Mahajan, Minister of Medical Education, and submitted their demands.
“The representatives of doctors met us in the afternoon and they have submitted their demands, which were more or less related to security and safety of doctors. We have informed them about our plans on the same,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, Directorate Medical and Education Research (DMER).