Under attack, doctors dither on conducting critical operations in Telangana | Hyderabad News – Times of India


HYDERABAD: After a spate of incidents of physical assaults on healthcare professionals by patients’ relatives, doctors across Telangana are dithering over conducting risky procedures despite knowing that a last-minute intervention could save a life.
The attacks have become increasingly frequent and serious in most state-run hospitals. At least 10 such cases have been reported over the past year in the state, while abuses are hurled and threats held out every day, doctors said.

“In such situations, there is hesitation among doctors to take up critical procedures where lot of risk is involved. Unlike earlier, where doctors took up a step-by-step approach to reach the last line of treatment, now they are not ready to take up certain procedures, especially if the chance of survival is as little as1-3 per cent,” said Dr Sagar Dharmula, president Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA).
“As doctors, we are bound to take the chance even if we can extend the life of a patient by a few hours, but we are now forced to not choose a procedure that can save a life,” he added.
With frequent incidents of assault, doctors working in critical care and intensive care units (ICU) are avoiding lastminute CPR on critical patients, anaesthesia in a seizure patient and in rural areas even snakebite patients are turned away, or a pregnant woman with cardiac disease history is asked to leave.
‘Systemic fault has made doctors sitting ducks’
The expectation that a patient should survive at all costs if brought to hospital and the threat of a backlash when things don’t work as per the expectation are causing fear, many doctors confessed.
Many poor people coming to government hospitals go back to unscrupulous doctors to seek opinions and are misguided. “We have been working tirelessly, almost 36 hours without a break in ICU and despite that we are constantly at the receiving end. After studying so hard and putting in so many years of service, the situation we encounter many a times is a patient attendant coming back and threatening us due to a second opinion he/she takes from a roadside baba. Verbal abuse is an everyday affair. They fail to understand that despite all efforts, not every patient will survive,” narrated a junior doctor from Osmania General Hospital, who had experienced the fury of attendants a few months back.
It is also a systemic fault that has made doctors sitting ducks, be it inadequate infrastructure or lack of proper security, added several doctors that TOI spoke with over the past few days on this issue.
“The situation was not so bad earlier, but now many hospitals in the district and rural areas do not even attempt to treat patients where there is a risk involved. The most common critical patient seen in rural areas is of poisoning, snake bite, cardiac arrest and C-section delivery and these are routinely avoided by small and mid-sized hospitals. This is society’s loss as ultimately it is the patient who suffers,” said Dr Kiran Madala, in-charge head of the department of critical care at Nizamabad Medical College.
“Poor infrastructure and security as well as unrealistic expectations are only going to damage the government healthcare service if not addressed in time,” added one doctor.

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