On Friday, the relatives of a 56-year-old Coronavirus patient named Akhtari Begum vandalised Sagar Dutta Hospital and Medical College at Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, after the patient died in the hospital.
The woman was rushed to the hospital after she complained of breathing problems. Following her death, the irked relatives smashed the glass windows and ransacked the emergency ward. A number of healthcare workers were also attacked by the unruly mob and some of them were injured.
West Bengal: Relatives of a patient who died in the hospital during treatment, allegedly vandalised Sagore Dutta Hospital and Medical College at Kamarhati (North 24 Parganas district), yesterday. Police have arrested 3 people in connection with the incident pic.twitter.com/bGo9DhBFnU— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2020
The cops posted at the said hospital were outnumbered by the deceased’s friends and family. As such, a large contingent of the police force from Belghoria police station was sent to pacify the chaotic situation at the hospital.
The woman was a resident of Kamarhati area, and she was admitted at the hospital on Thursday after she was having severe breathing trouble and her condition was serious. As her symptoms indicated COVID-19, she was kept at the isolation ward. But her condition didn’t improve, and looking at this her relatives got agitated and started quarrelling with the hospital staff. They also called more people to the hospital, and by that time the patient died on Friday. After that, the assembled relatives of the patient started vandalising the hospital. After vandalising the emergency ward, they had also tried to damage the isolation ward, but that ward was saved by the efforts of doctors and other staff in the hospital.
According to the hospital sources, patient Akhtari Begum had diabetes, which had complicated her situation.
It may be noted that the Superintendent of Sagar Dutta hospital Palash Das is in quarantine at present along with 17 doctors, as they had come into contact of two Coronavirus positive patients. Talking to Anandabazar Patrika over phone, Das said that such attacks will lower the morale of healthcare workers. He said that like everyone else healthcare workers are also worried about Coronavirus, with that if they are attacked, it will be difficult for them work. He said that the doctors tried their best to save the patient, but could no as her condition was very serious.
Medics under threat
Ever since the outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus, incidents of misbehaviour and violence against doctors and medical staff have risen sharply. In one such incident, a team of doctors and medical staff was attacked by a mob in the Haji Neb Masjid area in Moradabad when they went to take away two persons suspected of having novel Coronavirus in the area.
The mob pelted stones at the ambulance and doctors. The stones were also pelted on the police van which came to rescue the health workers later. Several people were injured in the ensuing mayhem, including Dr Sudhish Agrawal.
Government brings ordinance to protect doctors
Amidst the ongoing assaults on the frontline health workers, policemen during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the central government has brought in a timely ordinance to deter the unruly mob. The new ordinance has provisions to punish the assaulters with imprisonment from 6 months to 7 years.
“Health workers who are trying to save the country from this epidemic are unfortunately facing attacks. No incident of violence or harassment, against them, will be tolerated,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said while briefing the media. The investigation will be done within 30 days and the accused could face a jail term from 3 months to 5 years with a penalty of Rs 50,000 which could go up to Rs 2 lakh.