Declare death to family in presence of security: BMC

A day after a medical officer at Bhabha Hospital was attacked by relatives of a patient who died there, BMC has now made it mandatory for security personnel to be present at the time of declaration of death to family.

On Tuesday night, two men on a bike hit a 17-year-old pedestrian, Hayat Sayyed, on Bandra Reclamation. The three were rushed to Bhabha Hospital. After Sayyed succumbed to injuries later that night, his family members beat up the medical officer on duty and a security guard.

"The death of a loved one is not an easy time for the family. To ensure that doctors are not made targets, we have informed all hospitals that security personnel must be present when doctors inform family about the death of their kin. Also, only one or two family members will be allowed," said Dr Seema Mallik, medical superintendent of the peripheral hospitals.

Tuesday's incident is not a stray one. Last year, a police complaint was after the wife of a deceased patient at KEM Hospital pushed a nurse and hurled abuses at her. "Staff-to-patient ratio in most government hospitals is very low. These incidents are more frequent at night when there are fewer medical staff on duty. Doctors and nurses become easy targets," said Shobha Chauhan, senior nurse who helped her colleague lodge the complaint.

Resident doctors have for long been demanding better security in hospitals. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has written to hospital authorities to beef up both electronic as well as manual security. "We have been promised that by the end of March this year, there will be more CCTVs, armed security personnel as well a police chowkie at each hospital, especially at peripheral ones," said Dr Sunny Khandare, MARD president.

"We have floated tenders for CCTVs and related security arrangements. We expect the measures to be implemented in the next three to four months," said Dr Pravin Shingare, director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER)

Mallik, however, said the problem lies in dealing with irate family members. "Doctors should be trained to be a little more sensitive towards the family members' feelings. Families, in turn, should be counselled," she said.

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