Goa doctors’ association says will stop services if attacks happen

“It saddens us immensely that even after giving our best efforts, while being crippled by lack of adequate facilities, oxygen supply, beds, manpower etc. we have been on the receiving end of multiple threats and violent incidents in the past," said the Goa Association of Resident Doctors (GARD)

On a day active Covid-19 cases in Goa crossed 20,000—from less than 2,000 at the beginning of the month—a state doctors’ association flagged incidents of violence against health staff and warned of withdrawing their services if the attacks continue.

“It saddens us immensely that even after giving our best efforts, while being crippled by lack of adequate facilities, oxygen supply, beds, manpower etc. we have been on the receiving end of multiple threats and violent incidents in the past,” said the Goa Association of Resident Doctors (GARD) said in statement a issued Thursday.

In the statement, the doctors said that if any further violent incident happens to any resident doctor or staff in the Goa Medical College (GMC), South Goa District Hospital (SGDH), ESI Hospital or any other Covid hospital, “we, the 300-odd doctors managing almost all the workload of Covid-19 in the state, will have no other choice but to withdraw our services with immediate effect as the people and authorities have left us with no other choice”.

GARD cited incidents in which relatives of a patient abused doctors after the patient’s death at the SGDH on April 18 and another incident in which a patient’s relatives abused the doctors, nurses and broke a ventilator at the GMC on Wednesday.

“We will not be giving any further notices or warnings before stopping our services. If the administration cannot provide security to the doctors or if the people of Goa fail to understand the situation and the plight of healthcare workers, then we won’t be responsible for any further untoward incidents happening as a result of withdrawal of our services,” it said.

On Thursday, Goa had 20,898 active cases of Covid-19 in the state, a sharp rise from 1,716 on April 1. Of the active cases, 3,019 were new and 36 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, including that of a 19-year-old woman.

Earlier, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had appealed to citizens not to be rude to doctors working tirelessly in the state’s hospitals. Government officials were not available for comment on Thursday evening.

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