Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Mob

Violent responses to adverse events in healthcare is a very common feature nowadays. It has been there for quite some time. Most of the EHA hospitals face the brunt of it on and off. The latest incident was in Chattarpur where few of the senior doctors and officers of the hospital was beaten up after the death of a lady who had come for delivery.

And I had to face a fuming mob today afternoon. The reason was a boy whom we had seen in our Out Patient Department couple of days back. He had been prescribed Tablet Perinorm for nausea and vomitting. Today afternoon, he had developed abnormal posturing which we call extrapyrimidal syndrome secondary to perinorm.

The boy was from the local village and of one of the prominent upper caste families. Couple of people were shouting that the hospital was trying to poison him and another two were babbling about poor quality of medicines kept there. I recognised two quacks from the nearby villages. I was expecting at least couple of slaps or beatings. I had not yet come into the room where the boy was.

By God's grace, nothing happened. As I walked in, there was a sudden silence. Dr Johnson, the doctor on duty had already told me that it looked like extrapyramidals secondary to perinorm. So, it was a bit more easier for me to talk. And, of course, it was extrapyramidal syndrome most probably secondary to perinorm. I asked the nurse to give Inj Phenergan. The boy recovered very soon.

The incident was over in a flash. But, I am well aware that things could have turned for the worse. The mob dispersed quite quickly.

Meanwhile, I wonder whether there could be some law whereby doctors and other healthcare providers are protected from such violent responses from patient's families. One option would be to make violence against healthcare providers a non-bailable offense and increase the punishment for such offenses. That could deter people from doing such acts against healthcare personnel and institutions.


  1. There is such a law in West Bengal. However- as you noticed- mobs are usually instigated by rival practitioners. I remember a case where an orthopaedic MS candidate was shot in Bhagalpur on a supari given by the Vice Principal. The student had slapped the teacher in a fit of rage. but the teacher's action was planned.

  2. Many states have come up with law on this regard. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and recently karnataka enacted 'Protection of medical establishment and staff from violence' The same is available in the web. In Bangalore Baptist hospital we have exhibited the same as a huge framed notice in english and vernacular with the signature of the local SP.If there is no such law in your state local IMA and some hospitals together should take up this matter to the state health ministry with copy to the law ministry. Also quote what other states did in this regard. Having a CCTV camera in the potential area (if possible) will be of help later in this matter.

  3. Jeevan,I can understand how difficult things can get.I have had a similar experience.We lost the boy.It was a traumatic time for us.It could have been myocardites or a drug toxicity(Levoflox).It was a difficult time then.It was not the physical trauma but the mental one which really wore me out during my entire time there.

  4. in kerala, there had been strikes for the hospital protection bill,... it was presented as an ordinance earlier. the govt is considering making it a bill now!!!

    N B: the new background image of the blog seems good, except that it is causing eye strain to me as it is blurred out.. could you please make it normal view???

  5. :( actually i asked to make that backgroung image of the scenery into normal view instead of blurring it... oops...