Intolerance and Violence Against Doctors
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Intolerance and grouse against doctors is a global phenomenon but India seems to lead the world in violence against doctors. According to World Health Organization, about 8–38% healthcare workers suffer physical violence at some point in their careers. Many more are verbally abused or threatened. Public is almost behaving like health sector terrorists. The spate of increasing attacks on doctors by damaging their property and causing physical injury is not acceptable by any civilized society. The public is becoming increasingly intolerant to a large number of social issues because of poor governance and vote bank politics. There is a need to arrest the development of further distrust between doctors and their patients/relatives, otherwise it will compromise all achievements of medical science and adversely affect healing capabilities of doctors. Rude and aggressive behavior of the patients or their family members, and arrogant and lackadaisical approach of the doctor, adversely affects the doctor-patient relationship and the outcome of the patient. The doctors, hospital administration and government must exercise “zero tolerance” with respect to acts of violence against healthcare professionals. It is possible to reduce the incidence of intolerance against doctors but difficult to eliminate it completely. The healthcare providers should demonstrate greater compassion and empathy with improved communication skills. The hospitals must have adequate infrastructure, facilities and staff to handle emergencies without delay and with due confidence and skills. The security of healthcare providers, especially in sensitive areas, should be improved by having adequate number of security guards, frisking facilities, extensive CCTV network and availability of “Quick response team” to handle unruly mob. In case of any grievances for alleged mismanagement, the public should handle the situation in a civilized manner and seek redressal through Medical Protection Act and legal avenues. Laws to prevent violence against doctors do exist but they need to be made more stringent and implemented properly.
KeywordsDoctor-patient relationship Intolerance in society Violence against doctors Doctor-population ratio Medical education
My special thanks are due to Sonia Singh for going through the manuscript and making useful suggestions.
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