Dr Deben Dutta Mob Lynching & Murder: Lesson for Doctors


Dr Deben Dutta   lynching and murder by mob in Assam last year, was a new low in the current era of deteriorating doctor- patient relationship. In the era, where consumerism was imposed on doctors in most crude form, media and law industry taking advantage of the situation for their benefit.  Complexity of medical science has taken a back seat. The consequences and the brunt of resultant negativism were borne by doctors. Dr Deben Dutta was victim of venomous negativism spread by media against doctors in general.

     Every incidence of verbal, legal, and physical assault is a trust breaker. It is not only erosion of patient’s trust on doctors but the vice versa is also true.  As a rule of nature, as violence increases, compassion decreases. Patients might get their revenge for one stray incident, but they will lose compassion and trust of doctors in the long run. Millions of lives saved everyday by medical professionals were of no consequence.

   GUWAHATI: An Assam court on Tuesday awarded death sentence to a tea garden worker and life imprisonment to 24 others in connection with last year’s lynching of a 73-year-old doctor. Dr. Deben Dutta, a senior medical officer of the Teok Tea Estate hospital in Jorhat district, was lynched by a mob on August 31 last year for his alleged delay in treating a worker, Somra Majhi. Dutta was attacked with sharp weapons and he succumbed to his injuries on the way to a hospital. He had served at the tea garden for over four decades. His killing had triggered widespread outrage.

   The impunity   with which attendant easily and brutally assault doctors is really appalling.  Should  such incidents  be shameful to law enforcing agencies? Are we a lawless society? More problematic is the government apathy and silence of bodies like human right commission.

          In this case, at least the culprits have been brought to book and punished by the court. But still the root cause for such gruesome incident is not addressed. The danger for the medical fraternity is still lurking due to many factors. Risk to the doctor not only comes from the infectious diseases, but can be there because of physical and legal assaults. It can be just consequent  to  venting out  emotions of angry relatives, resulting from a  natural  poor prognosis, but blaming the doctor. Doctors who are universal common link present at the time of death of patients, become victims and punching bag.

       There are lessons to be learnt by doctors from such episodes. As patients are turning into   consumers, health providers cannot remain simply doctors as before. They need to develop skills to anticipate danger and save themselves.  They need to assess their place of work for their own and their family’s safety.

      Aspiring doctors should choose this profession carefully and take a well informed decision.  Such incidents are warning signs for the young generation, who are oblivious   and ignorant to the risks faced by doctors in present era.

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