A paediatric doctor was grievously injured in an attack by four men in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru on Monday, May 31. Dr Deepak, who works at the Basaveshwara Poly Clinic in Tarikere, was assaulted by relatives of a six-year-old child Bhuvan, who died of dengue on May 29 after receiving treatment from Dr Deepak. According to the police, the family suspected the doctor of causing Bhuvan’s death, which led to the attack. The four accused were arrested by police on Tuesday for attempt to murder. Dr Deepak, who sustained injuries on his hands, legs and head, is undergoing treatment in Shivamogga.
Explaining the incident, District Superintendent of Police Hakay Machindra told the media that Bhuvan was admitted to the Basaveshwara Poly Clinic on May 25 due to dengue. However, his condition did not improve. “The doctor had referred them [Bhuvan’s relatives] to bring the child to Shivamogga after his condition worsened. However, on May 29, the child succumbed to dengue. The relatives of the deceased child, especially his uncle, were aggrieved by his death and suspected that the doctor had harmed their child. Holding this grudge, they attacked the doctor on Monday,” he said. The incident took place when Dr Deepak was on his way home.
On May 24, reports of the relative of a COVID-19 patient assaulting a doctor in Ballari had also surfaced. In visuals of the incident that circulated online, a man stormed into the COVID-19 ward of the VIMS Hospital and was reportedly seen assaulting a woman doctor after arguing with her. According to the police, the man’s father was being treated at the hospital for COVID-19, but passed away due to complications caused by the infection.
Resident doctors across Karnataka have expressed their displeasure with the ill-treatment of healthcare workers, especially in regard to assaults by aggrieved families. Members of the Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) on Wednesday wrote to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa demanding a state-level legal cell that will probe into the issues.
In their letter, they wrote, “It is sad to note that there are more than 12 registered incidents of assault on healthcare workers in the past eight to 10 months while the unnoticed, unregistered assaults and also incidents of verbal abuse threats and hampering the duties to be discharged amounts to hundreds. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure such incidents don't happen and make sure culprits are legally punished. The formation of a state-level legal cell is a one-time solution for the longstanding problem of assault on healthcare workers.”