The rising tide of violence against health professionals across the world has been highlighted by the World Medical Association following the case of a 73-year-old doctor who was killed in Assam, India last week.
The senior resident doctor was allegedly absent from duty when a tea planter was brought into hospital in a critical condition. The worker subsequently died and according to reports this led to an outbreak of violence, during which the doctor was violently attacked and died.
WMA President Dr. Leonid Eidelman said the case was yet another horrific example of the increasing trend of violence against health professions in India and across the world.
In a letter to India’s Prime Minister Modi, Dr. Eidelman said: ‘Health professionals are threatened and attacked, sometimes even when they provide life-saving emergency care. They can be the deliberate targets of violence and used as scapegoats, such as in the case of Dr. Dutta.
‘Such violence affects profoundly health professionals in the discharge of their duty as well as their physical and moral integrity, with unavoidable consequences on the provision of health care and patients’ safety. Furthermore, the proliferation of such violence tends to make these acts a common occurrence, instilling mistrust against health professionals’.
Dr. Eidelman said the latest incident required a robust response from the Indian government to address the root causes of violence. The WMA has supported calls from the Indian Medical Association for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue of violence against health professionals.
Following the incident, Indian doctors are organising a Solidarity Day today (September 3), and the Assam state branch of the Indian Medical Association is withdrawing routine medical services.