mid-day editorial: Don't fracture the doctor-patient bond
Within four days of the doctors calling off their strike, a patient's relatives assaulted two interns at Thane Civil Hospital on Wednesday afternoon. The situation threatened to become a catalyst for yet another strike, but the police detained the main accused and have registered a case against several persons.
We must do everything we can to prevent going back to square one. Let this case become a litmus test for new measures and promises to safeguard doctors, and create a new patient-doctor equation. Reports state that two intern doctors were the target of the ire of the patient and his relatives; the young doctors were beaten up while they were stitching his wounds. Doctors will be looking very carefully at the response to this attack, both by the cops and by the hospital. It is important that the hospital step in, in the role of mediator, and give some reassurance to doctors. Most importantly, do not dismiss the assault as a non-issue or as something that does not merit a response. We must remember that the strike has been called off, but it is contingent on ensuring safety for doctors. Hospitals also have to look within and gauge whether these assaults are provoked by a shortage of medical services, or if there is a strain on young doctors. Let us start looking for a solution.
Now is the time to address the issue with a great sense of urgency, instead of sitting back complacently, under the presumption that things can go back to what they were. They cannot, and we should not allow them to. It is in all our interests to act with great determination to stem these attacks, get to the bottom of the matter and work towards ensuring that medical professionals never have a reason to strike again. It is a fragile peace that we live in right now. Let's see that it holds.