Resident doctors across Karnataka on Friday observed a black band protest over the abuse and assault on duty doctors by relatives of COVID-19 victims and demanded legal action against offenders and protection to discharge their duty without fearing for their lives.
The protest was planned to condemn the abuse and assault on resident doctors and nurses on duty at the state-run KC General Hospital in Bengaluru, as their family member's body could not be handed over without completing formalities. Other than issues of violence against COVID-19 duty doctors and other medical, paramedic staff, the association said that they will intensify their protests in the coming days if a 11-point demand is not met by the authorities. The demands included adequate personal protective equipments, hygienic work conditions and their stipends.
"The state government should take stringent action against relatives of Covid patients or victims for abusing and attacking us, nurses and paramedics violently in the event of a death due to the infection," KARD (Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors) President Dr Dayanand Sagar said on the eve of the protest day.
Dr Sagar said the association members would protest from July 24 in all state-run and private hospitals across the state by wearing black bands.
Relatives of a woman who posthumously tested positive assaulted a resident doctor and a nurse for not handing over her body without conducting autopsy and completing formalities.
Similarly, relatives of a patient who died of the infection while under treatment at the state-run hospital at Belgaum, assaulted doctors and nurses and set an ambulance on fire, alleging medical negligence.
"Violence on doctors and healthcare workers in many hospitals endangers our safety and damage to public property," said Sagar.
The association sought arrest and legal action against culprits involved in the attack on doctors in Bengaluru, Belagavi and Bidar hospitals.
"The state government should ensure safety protocols in all hospitals and Covid care centres with security and police personnel," added Sagar.
The 11- point demand has been reproduced in full:
1.Arrest and legal action against culprits involved in KC General hospital incident
2. Arrest and legal action against culprits involved in Belgaum incident
3 Condemnation of atrocities on doctors in Bidar
4 Ensuring safety protocols at al hospitals and COVID care centres with adequate security and police personnel
5. "No hierarchy in a pandemic"- common work pattern for all doctors irrespective of hierarchy/cadre
6 Immediate release of funds for stipend for already sanctioned hike.
7. COVID duty and night duty allowances
8. Ensuring adequate supply of N-95 masks, face shields, surgical gowns in all non COVID working areas
9 Adequate supply of GOOD QUALITY PPES for all COVID working areas\
10. Safety protocols and fumigation services at REGULAR INTERVALS for all places of stay work, quarantine, hostels.
11. Dedicated establishments/wards for isolation and treatment of front-line workers