The frequency of violent attacks on doctors is alarmingly high in Kerala with the latest victim being Dr. Vandana Das. The incident which shocked the state happened at Kottarakara Taluk Hospital on Wednesday early morning. 25-year-old Dr. Vandana Das from Kottayam, a house surgeon at the hospital was stabbed by Sandeep in police custody, while she was treating him. He stabbed her multiple times. Four others, including police officials were injured in the incident.
Sandeep is a teacher of Nedumbana UP School and was recently suspended from service for drug abuse. He was later sent to a de-addiction centre. Sandeep who had recently returned home got into a quarrel with his brother last night. The police reached the spot and took him to custody. As he was injured, he was brought to Kottarakara Taluk hospital for a medical examination and to dress his wounds. He attacked the doctor then.
The incident is the latest in a series of assaults launched at doctors in the state recently. Kerala had reported 137 attacks on doctors in 2022 alone.
On March 6, 2023 a 60-year-old cardiologist was attacked at Fathima Hospital in Kozhikode by a group of people accompanying the patient alleging delay in treatment. The doctor suffered serious injuries in the attack.
Last year, a lady doctor was kicked to the ground by a patient’s husband after she informed that the woman had died.
The Kerala High court had expressed concern over increasing attack on doctors last December. Recently, a division bench of the High court comprising Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath had asked the state government to suggest measures to prevent attacks on doctors and medical professionals, including legislation. The court stated that it is more concerned about the prevention of attacks rather than taking action after the attacks have happened.
In a special sitting in view of Dr. Vandana’s murder, the High court harshly criticized the state government and told to shut down the hospitals if they don’t know how to protect their doctors. The lack of concern from the part of the state government in ensuring safety to the doctors is evident from the recent incident.
In the wake of the incident, the Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) had submitted a plea before HC demanding security for medical students.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a state-wide strike on Thursday as a protest against the murder of lady doctor. Emergency services will be excluded from the strike.