Mortal combat

Following the death of principal of the Modern Indian School, J B Sharma, while undergoing treatment for heart ailment at Norvic Hospital, students and relatives resorted to vandalism accusing hospital staff of negligence. Reportedly, the principal had been admitted to the hospital half an hour before his death, which, the doctors claim, left too little time to save the patient who had suffered a stroke. On the other hand, the patient’s relatives claim that there were no doctors around when he was admitted to the hospital. The truth in this case is yet to be conclusively established. It is another matter that there have been a number of cases at various hospitals in the past which were reported to have led to the death of patients.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that patients may die in spite of the best efforts of the most experienced of doctors. Sometimes doctors have been unjustly blamed for the death of a patient. However, doctors and medical staff have been guilty of criminal negligence too. Misunderstanding, unnecessary rows, vandalism in support of patients, and doctors’ strikes have often occurred because there has been not any effective authority in place for settling the disputes. Doctors have also been very partisan in that the Nepal Medical Association and the Medical Council cannot be relied on for acting against offending doctors. That is why patients and their relatives, in moments of their despair, may turn aggressive. It is not just a question of doctors’ security and good behaviour from the patients. It is a two-way street.