Amid the doctors’ protest in Kerala over their safety following the killing of a young medico by a drug addict she was treating in Kollam district, the Kerala government on Thursday will discuss ways to ensure the safety of medical practitioners in the state.
The emergency meeting scheduled later today, comes in the backdrop of doctors intensifying their agitation against the killing of 23-yeara-old Vandana Das.
The woman doctor was stabbed to death on Wednesday by a man whose leg wound she was dressing at a hospital in Kollam district where he was brought after an alleged fight with his family members. Majority of doctors have not reported to work for the last 24 hours demanding that the government bring out new legislation for the protection of hospitals with immediate effect. The emergency meet, scheduled to be held at the conferance hall in the Chief Minister’s Office here, would discuss various issues including the formation of the new legislation to prevent attacks against doctors on duty, a CMO statement here said. Besides Health Minister Veena George and Chief Secretary V P Joy, health, law and medical education secretaries, state police chief, ADGPs and respective department heads would also attend the meeting, the statement added. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to convene the high-level meeting after his discussions with the representatives of various doctors’ associations at his chamber here in the morning. After meeting Vijayan, leaders of the associations told reporters outside that the CM heard their grievances and gave assurance to consider their demands empathetically. ”We requested the government to immediately bring out a new legislation for the protection of hospitals. We also wanted hospitals to be declared as special protection zones,” Indian Medical Association (IMA), State President Dr Sulphi N said. He also said the organisation sought the government to name the new legislation after the deceased doctor. The IMA further said the ongoing agitation would be continued until they received a concrete assurance from the authorities on their demands. Besides the IMA, the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMO) also announced a strike today. The functioning of hospitals was largely hit across the state due to the agitation by medical students and doctors. Intensive Care Units ( ICUs) and casualties were exempted from the stir, but the Out Patient (OP) services in the state hospitals were affected. Earlier in the day, the Kerala High Court termed the killing of a young doctor at a taluk hospital as the outcome of the ”systemic failure”. A special bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath directed the State Police Chief to come out with a new set of protocols for ensuring security of the doctors and other healthcare professionals in all government hospitals in the state. Meanwhile, hundreds of people from various walks of life including ministers, MLAs paid their last respects to the deceased doctor, Vandana Das at her residence in Muttuchira in Kottayam, where the mortal remains are kept for public homage. State Health Minister Veena George and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan was among those who paid respects. Coming down heavily on the government over the issue, Satheesan alleged that the Left regime had not dealt with the issue of doctors’ safety with the seriousness required when the Congress-led UDF opposition raised it in the assembly recently. The government then gave a reply in the House claiming that there were no such issue in the state hospitals, but later corrected it after various organisations came out against it, he said. He said it was ”strange” that the police officials are justifying the department even after bringing a criminal to a hospital without taking any precaution.