Punjab hospitals hire bouncers to protect doctors

Often facing backlash from relatives in cases of unexpected death of a patient, private hospitals here have started raising their own ‘force’ to prevent incidents of thrashing of doctors and vandalizing of hospital property. What’s more, a few doctors have also secretly hired bouncers for their personal security.  “Violence in private hospitals mostly takes place when a patient dies unexpectedly or even after a lengthy and expensive treatment,” said Director of Cardiology at Fortis Hospital, Dr Arun Chopra. He advocated adequate security arrangements in private hospitals. “There should be absolute zero tolerance for violent behaviour of relatives in hospitals,” he said.

“A strong legal action that gets enforced promptly can bring a sense of security among the medical fraternity,” he said, adding that in the recent past there had been three major incidents of violence against doctors in Amritsar alone. Generally, the patients grouse against doctors is about medical negligence but in the majority of cases, deaths occur due to the complication of disease, he added.

Amandeep Hospital’s Dr Avtar Singh said his hospital had its own personnel who form a human chain around the relatives of patients when they observe situation slipping out of hand. “We have CCTV cameras installed in all the nooks and corners of the hospital which are monitored round the clock and as soon as we find unexpected gathering of relatives of patients or someone going berserk, our security force forms a human chain around them to prevent them from misbehaving with doctors or vandalizing the hospital property,” he added.

Dr H S Nagpal of Hartej Hospital said that they hired private security but it only helped regulate the patient’s flow. Private security personnel worked as a psychological deterrent in case of situation turning ugly, they were not permitted to use force. He said that only stricter legal punishment for those attacking doctors and damaging hospitals was the answer to the problem.