Time to enact a Central Act for violence against doctors

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Increasing violence against doctors necessitates urgent action

New Delhi, 14 June 2019: Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has directed the members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday. In the light of rising incidents of violence against doctors, there is a need to encourage positive communication.

A survey by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had revealed that nearly 75% of doctors in India have faced some form of violence or threat of violence at some point in their careers. In several states, doctors have frequently gone on strike demanding stringent punishments for those who attack doctors. Others have written articles highlighting the need for better security and surveillance at hospitals.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, Past National President IMA and President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “Today, the entire medical profession stands in solidarity with the doctors in the state of West Bengal. About four years back, when cases of violence against doctors were at their peak, the government of India had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee, which had promised to soon enact a central Act for violence against doctors. But, sadly, this has yet to see the light of the day. It’s time that the medical profession unites and stand firm till the government brings a Bill for violence against doctors in the coming Parliament session. This is an urgent need of the medical profession”.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Violence against doctors should be made a non bailable offense punishable with 7-14 years imprisonment on the lines of abatement of a murder because violence against doctor can end up with death of other unattended patients. The medical profession is not against accountability but no one has a right to take law in their hand. Every hospital and healthcare facility should identify high-risk violence prone areas in their establishment to be manned by adequate number doctors, CCTV cameras and adequate security. Healthcare providers, who are victims of violence, must be adequately compensated. A Grievances Redressal mechanism should be established in every hospital, for patients or their relatives as well as for the healthcare providers.

About 15% to 30% of medical students and residents suffer from depression

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Doctors are not healing angels and should not be blamed for patient deaths unduly

New Delhi, 11 October 2018: A study conducted by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) last year found that in Kerala doctors die approximately 10 to 12 years before the average person – in India, overall, this number stands at seven years before the average person. In early 2018, about six doctors checked into the psychiatric ward at AIIMS at the same time, even as the IMA has declared physician suicides ‘a public health crisis’.

Most doctors follow a 12-hour shift including teaching, mentoring, attending to patients, and doing research work. Some attend to about 400 patients a day in healthcare facilities, some of which lack even the basic amenities and infrastructure. All this and the guilt of not being able to give enough time to patients can result in burnout, alienation, diseases, and depression over time, all of which can lead to suicides.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Medical students often suffer from depression. Their training is extremely taxing and can take a toll on their mental and physical health. A student may have been a topper in school, but things change when they enter medical college. Not being able to score as well can also lead to depression after a point. It is estimated that about 15% to 30% of the medical students and residents suffer from depression. In a study, it was found that many students either contemplated suicide or attempted it! Many students resort to non-prescription drug use such as eating painkillers or antidepressants. For senior doctors, there is work stress, reputation at stake, and the inability to recognize the symptoms of depression or fatigue.”

Increasing physical assault on doctors by patients and their families is also on the rise. People hold doctors responsible for any eventuality without realizing that they are not healing angels. Lack of trust between patients and doctors is another major reason for suicides.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The cases of burnout are likely higher in female doctors due to the demands at both work and home. The number of specialists is limited, and hence they are subjected to more working hours and the nature of the jobs is demanding. With such a punishing workload, they may also end up taking the blame if something goes wrong or even become frustrated with the changing work culture. Addressing the doctor-patient ratio in India is, therefore, an urgent need of the hour.”

Here are some tips for doctors to avoid a possible burnout.

  • Practice smart work scheduling
  • Start a hobby which will help you distract yourself from the regular workload
  • Make time for relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation, as these will prove to be stressbusters.
  • Make time for family and friends
  • Delegate tasks and try to manage your time effectively.

People working in irregular shifts at a higher risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes

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Inculcating healthy eating habits at the outset can help in averting this condition

New Delhi, 15 February 2018: According to a recent study, people working irregular or rotating shifts with usual night shifts were 44% more likely to have Type 2 diabetes. In addition, compared to day workers, all shift workers were more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, except for permanent night shift workers. WHO statistics indicate that the global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. The majority of people with diabetes are affected by Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is typically brought on by poor eating habits, too much weight and too little exercise. In this condition, the cells cannot use blood sugar (glucose) efficiently for energy. This happens when the cells become insensitive to insulin and the blood sugar gradually gets too high.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, it is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide. One of the primary reasons for this is the lifestyle people lead today. On-the-go and fast-paced lives mean people skip their breakfast and end up eating unhealthy, quick-fix meals through the remainder of a day. Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity and it’s well–known that maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise reduces the risk of developing the disease. Diet affects diabetes risk independent of a person’s weight.”

Type 2 diabetes is also known as the silent killer. This is because by the time people are diagnosed with the condition, the other health complications of diabetes may already be present.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Foods which reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes such as vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and unsaturated fats need to be more affordable and more widely available. Most of all, it is important to start the day with a healthy breakfast as this can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and effectively manage all other types of this condition as well. This will be an important topic of discussion at the 25th Perfect Health Mela to be held this year by the HCFI.”

Here are some tips to manage Type 2 diabetes in young adults.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by exercising every day and consuming a healthy diet.
  • Get your blood glucose levels monitored at regular intervals.
  • Do not consume refined sugar in any form as this can get absorbed into the blood stream more easily and cause further complications.
  • Reduce stress through activities such as meditation and yoga.

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