More than 75% of doctors in India have faced some form of violence, revealed the preliminary findings of an ongoing study by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Doctors when providing emergency services have faced maximum violence with as many as 48.8% of such incidents reported from intensive care units (ICUs) or after a patient had undergone surgery.
According to the study, data of the past five years showed that 68.33% of the violence was committed by relatives and attendants of patients.
Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, IMA secretary general, said, "All cases of violence are not reported. Doctors often understand the situation of relatives who are in distress and do not report such cases. Mostly, those cases are reported where the doctor feels serious threat of life or has already faced so."
Most incidents of violence occurred during visiting hours and peak hours, when doctors are busy and visitors are around. The study found that doctors and paramedical staff also had faced rage while transporting serious patients to hospital.
According to the head of emergency services in a leading private hospital, "The transport time is very crucial. This is also a kind of emergency service and relatives of patients are nervous and under stress. Any delay or even an unintended negligence results in huge rage and anger among the patient's escorts."
Health care experts and doctors said there is a strong need for counseling relatives and attendants of patients.
Experts also pointed out the need to streamline processes in hospitals. When a patient passes away a lot of violence-related cases happen. Hospitals insist on clearing payments before handing over the body, distressed relatives and attendants often get into fights in such situations. Experts said such processes should be streamlined and handled by non-medical people.