Footage showing medics apologising draws criticism

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Sep 29, 2016-

The Nepal Medical Association (NMA) has expressed serious concern over a video widely circulated on the social media which appears to show health professionals, including doctors at Charikot Hospital lined up in a row with hands pressed together to apologise to the public for a death of a baby during treatment.

The video, shot on Saturday, shows people shouting at the doctors as the health workers, standing in line just by the side of security personnel, say that they are sorry. A person from the hospital management committee reads out an agreement paper, accepting the “negligence of hospital” and making a commitment not to repeat such mistakes in future.

The NMA held emergency meeting on the matter on Tuesday afternoon. Dr Lochan Karki, General Secretary of NMA, said humiliating health workers is the worst thing that a community can do. “We will take up the case with home minister and seek protection,” said Dr Karki. “If the government fails to take up this issue seriously we will have to take stern measures.”

Doctors who were harassed by the locals said even the local administration did not support them. “We had asked for a post-mortem but they denied. Since there were over 300 people, the local administration appeared more keen to settle the issue than finding the truth,” said a doctor, requesting anonymity.

According to the doctor, a two-and-half-year-old baby was admitted to the hospital in the wee hours on Friday and died on Saturday. The relatives of the patient began threatening the doctor and the local administration also asked doctors to apologise after they failed to disperse the crowd.

The hospital has been recently leased to Possible Health Nepal, a non-government organisation, which has been lauded for its amasing work in Bayalpata Hospital, Aacham.   

The video, which has gone viral on the internet since, has sparked condemnation. “As I watch this, a doctor inside me has died. It is hard to live in a country where there is law if such treatment is done,” wrote Dr Norman Lamichhane, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Western Regional Hospital, Pokhara on his Facebook post. “If there is a mistake, the aggrieved party can go to court for legal recourse.”

The General Practitioner’s Association of Nepal, the Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal also hit out at the District Administration Office and Nepal Police officials at their handling of the situation while the doctors were humiliated publicly. They have demanded an immediate probe into the matter and action against the guilty. 

Meanwhile, the hospital staffers have started a protest on Wednesday over the issue.

They have halted all services except for emergency cases. 

Published: 29-09-2016 07:46

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