A 35-year-old doctor from Dhule Civil Hospital in Maharashtra was brutally beaten up by relatives of an accident victim, after he allegedly referred the patient to a tertiary level hospital for further treatment.

“The patient’s relatives got angry when referral was made and started beating up the orthopaedic doctor with rods and cots,” recounted a resident doctor from the hospital.

Alleged delay in patient’s treatment sparks rage in relatives

The patient was reportedly brought to the hospital after he met with an accident, riding pillion on a two-wheeler. The patient was attended to by Dr Roshan Mhamunkar, who brought him for a CT scan, but was unable to attain proper imaging as the patient was moving during the procedure.

However, as the patient appeared to be suffering from a brain haemorrhage, Mhamunkar promptly referred him to a specialist centre, where a neurosurgeon would be available.

Upset over the alleged delay in treatment, a verbal altercation soon commenced, and the agitated relatives started to assault the doctor. CCTV footage of the incident showed a large group of people aggressively beating and kicking the doctor in the hospital ward.

"The attackers first beat him up in the ward, but on realizing that there was a CCTV camera, moved him to the doctor's room and continued their assault,” said Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, president-elect of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

As a result, Mhamunkar suffered injuries to his chest, severe injuries on his abdomen and skull, and may lose vision in his left eye.

“Mhamunkar has been discharged and he has decided to take treatment in Mumbai, where he resides,” said S Satish Kumar, the dean of Hire Medical College.

Dr Mhamunkar suffered injuries to his chest, severe injuries on his abdomen and skull, and may lose vision in his left eye. Photo credit: ANI Twitter @ANI_news
Dr Mhamunkar suffered injuries to his chest, severe injuries on his abdomen and skull, and may lose vision in his left eye. Photo credit: ANI Twitter @ANI_news

Man accused of assaulting doctor hangs self in police lockup

The Dhule police have arrested nine individuals who were involved in the assault – one of whom committed suicide by hanging himself in the lockup toilet.

"Pradeep Vetale committed suicide on Tuesday afternoon,” said Dhule superintendent of police Chaitnya S. "We haven't yet been able to confirm this, but Vetale was supposedly the rider while Laskhar (the accident victim) was the pillion."

The hospital patient, according to Wankhedkar, was taken to a private hospital for further treatment, however, succumbed to his injuries within 24 hours.

Doctors protest, demand for better hospital security

Following the incident, doctors have donned black ribbons on their arms and taken to the streets to protest against violence in the hospital.

"IMA (Maharashtra) has decided to take out a silent march in Dhule on Wednesday. The government should ask for proper enquiry into the matter and take stringent action. It also needs to provide a conducive atmosphere to doctors rendering services in government hospitals and private nursing homes,” said IMA president Dr Avinash Wase.

"Doctors (in Dhule) will hence not be available (on Wednesday) except for emergencies," added Wankhedkar.

Members from the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors have also protested in front of the chamber of the dean of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), demanding for a revision of the security system of GMCH and requesting for armed guards in wards to ensure safety of healthcare practitioners.

"The government should consider adding stricter clauses as applicable in the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act,” said Dr Anup Marar, secretary of the Vidarbha Hospital Association.

“Such assaults are discouraging private doctors from treating serious patients. Now, people are even attacking government hospital doctors." MIMS

Read more:
IMH patient jailed two years for kicking and stomping fellow patient's head
Indian fake doctor allegedly used stolen documents to work in Australia for 11 years
Strikes held in tribute to Israeli nurse who was burnt to death by patient