In an act of revenge that took over two years, a doctor with a government hospital in Yavatmal – 650 km from Mumbai – was shot dead, allegedly by a family member of his patient who had died under the doctor’s supervision two years ago.
Attacks and assaults on doctors is an indicator of a lawless, uncivilized society, poor governance and broken health system. Unwillingness or failure of government to prevent such attacks on doctors will have deep ramifications on future of medical profession. The impunity with which criminals can dare to take law into their hands and punish doctors instantly at will is a blatant disrespect to courts and judicial system. In absence of strict laws for protection of doctors, health care workers have become vulnerable to assaults and revenge.
Doctors have become punching bags for all the malaise prevalent in the system. A failing system which is unable to provide health to the people and security to doctors. The rickety system hides behind their hard working doctors and presents them as punching bags. The impunity with which attendant easily and brutally assault doctors is really appalling, should be shameful to law enforcing agencies.
Role of media, celebrities, film stars and prominent personalities in spreading the hatred against the medical profession and creating an environment of mistrust is unpardonable. They project single stray incident as an example and portray poor image of medical profession as generalization just to earn money and fame for themselves.
Hence by selective projection the blame for deficiencies of inept system, powerful industry, inadequate infrastructure and poor outcomes of serious diseases is shifted conveniently to doctors, who are unable to retaliate to the powerful media machinery. Role of doctor associations, parent institutes have been spineless and not encouraging.
The demonstration of the cleft that separates doctors from the actual overpowering controlling medical industry and administrators is not given, in order to maintain the prejudice with its dangerous bias towards doctors, who are in forefront and are visible to public.
Family members of the patient had alleged that it was due to the negligence of Dr Hanumant Dharmakare, medical officer at the R P Uttarwar Kutir Hospital, that their son Arbaz (20), who had met with a bike accident, died in May 2019.
The police are on the lookout for the main suspect, Aifaz Shaikh, the elder brother of Arbaz, who is believed to have shot the doctor.On January 11, Dharmakare was shot dead in broad daylight by an unidentified person on the Umarkhed – Pusad Road in Yavatmal. The police team found that the application concerned the death of his nephew Arbaz.When the police questioned Tousif further, they found that his nephew Arbaz had met with an accident on May 4, 2019. Arbaz had been riding a bike with his brother Aifaz (then 22) and a relative Moshin, when the accident took place.The family had rushed the trio to the local hospital, where Dharmakare was the on-duty doctor. The family alleged that due to negligence on the part of the doctor, Arbaaz lost his life. The family even had a fight with Dharmakare and they allegedly threatened that he would have to pay for his actions. Bhujbal said that during the police investigation, they found that for the past two years, the family had been looking for an opportunity to get back at Dharmakare. They had kept an eye on his movements even earlier this year, following which they decided to allegedly kill him last Tuesday. It was Arbaz’s elder brother Aifaz who allegedly fired at the doctor and fled from the spot on the bike.
Are we a lawless society? More problematic is the government apathy and silence of human right commission. Here comes the point that what is the role of our doctor’s organizations, human right organizations, parent hospitals and institutes.
Good Governance lies in prevention of such incidents. Knee-jerk policing activities after every incident are of limited benefit. Moreover the impunity with which people dare to take law into their hands and tend to punish doctors instantly for perceived negligence, is a blatant disrespect to courts and judicial system.