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Kerala:Hospital vandalized, staff attacked for insisting facemask

- June 22, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, June 22 (BPNS)

In Kerala, a hospital got vandalized and its staff was assaulted for questioning a bystander for not wearing a facemask. The attack was reported at Government Taluk Hospital in Neendakara at Kollam on Tuesday night. According to hospital authorities, the miscreants shattered glass panels of the casualty’s pharmacy and destroyed medicines. They also manhandled nursing staff and security personnel. The Chavara Police said that they had identified the attackers, who were said to be on the run.

As per police accounts, the incident followed after a quarrel between one of the miscreants and a hospital staff a few days back. The squabble was over wearing a facemask.

“The hospital authorities said that two days ago some staff argued with a bystander who was not wearing a facemask. Though the staff insisted on the same because of the rising number of cases, the youth exchanged some words and threatened the staff. That incident is being inquired and now this has happened,” said a police officer.

The officer also added that as one of the youths was alleging that the staff delayed in providing medical aid to his mother, it will also be examined whether this provoked an attack.

The video footage of the attack along with some voice clips is being circulated widely and it’s in that one of the youths alleged delay in providing medical aid to his mother.

At the same time, the hospital said that the attack is in retaliation for the police complaint they filed against the youth for misbehaving with the staff.

“The bike-borne assailants, a gang of three, came here with weapons and straightway attacked the staff. They manhandled staff nurse Shyamily and security personnel Sankarankutty. They were both injured. Duty doctor Unnikrishnan had a miraculous escape as one of the miscreants tried to attack him with an iron rod. The injured were now at the district hospital,” said a hospital staff.

Condemning the attack, state health minister Veena George said that strong action would be taken against the culprits and she has sought details from the police regarding the action they are taking and its status.

Meanwhile, the demand of the Indian Medical Association that hospitals be declared safe zones has once again gained traction. It was in February that the IMA raised such demand due to continuous assaults on hospitals and doctors/staff across the state. According to them, hospital employees must be provided with adequate protection and the violators should be dealt with strongly.

As per various sections of IPC, interrupting the work of a hospital or misbehaving with hospital staff, or abusing them will attract rigorous imprisonment or fine, or both.

The state in 2012 had passed the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act to prohibit violence against healthcare service persons and to prevent damage and loss of property in healthcare service institutions. The act which envisages three years imprisonment or a fine that may extend to Rs 50,000 also has the option of initiating revenue recovery proceedings against the violators.