A sad episode

Unfortunately, over the last few days, some of the country’s renowned hospitals have fallen victims to public rage. The Lumbini Zonal Hospital and two dozen other private clinics in Butwal were vandalised by a mob on May 23 after Deepak Sapkota, who was injured in a motorcycle accident, died allegedly due to the doctors’ negligence. The irate crowd mercilessly beat up Dr Shree Krishna Giri inside the emergency ward. Similarly, yesterday, angry locals manhandled the duty doctor, Santosh Khadka, of Everest Nursing Home in Kathmandu and damaged the hospital building. The crowd held the hospital staff responsible for Tulsi Ram Gautam’s death, who was an asthma patient and died as an oxygen cylinder could not be made available on time.

Time and again, the medical sector has come under such fierce public attacks for its inability to cater to the emergency needs of the people. It is thus high time the authorities developed a mechanism to avoid similar future clashes. It is imperative that vital medical equipment and essential facilities are readily and easily accessible to the patients. There should be no space for compromise or callousness while dealing with human lives. However, resorting to violence is hardly the right approach. The guilty doctors should be penalised after investigation. While many innocent lives can be fatally affected during such mob assaults, it is morally incorrect to misbehave with medical practitioners. The people should not forget the extraordinary effort of the doctors and hospitals during the Jana Andolan and how compassionately they took care of the injured. It is unfair to label the entire medical community as irresponsible just because a few show indifference or commit mistakes.