The corona pandemic has created havoc all over the country. The government, and some social workers are trying their best to deal with this calamity, but on top of all are healthcare providers. At least 50 doctors have lost their lives, almost half the doctors working in tertiary care hospitals have become COVID-positive. They are treating patients with limited protective gear. Freshly-graduated doctors faced corona patients on the first day of their career and many became COVID-positive.

Many non-medical professions were given a special corona allowance. When it came to the doctors however, criteria were devised and only those doctors were given allowance who were working in isolation wards. Whereas the truth is, every doctor has to face COVID patients in their daily practice, whether their duty is in the surgery ward, the medicine ward or even the eye ward. Many of our colleagues lost their lives, many doctors who suffered from corona couldn’t even get beds in government hospitals. They were either forced to get treatment from private setups, spending a large amount of money or to remain in their houses. But we didn’t let such injustice lower our spirit of serving the nation. We put our needs and rights aside for the betterment of the community in this time of crisis.

Unfortunately, some incidents occurred recently, occurrences that cannot be tolerated anymore. If some patient is unhappy, they start misbehaving, even with female doctors. They verbally and physically abuse the doctors on duty, record videos without their consent and post those videos on social media, always blaming the doctors for negligence.

There is another conspiracy among the public, that if someone dies of corona, doctors get money from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is why doctors are killing COVID patients on purpose.

Violence against doctors has been carried out in many cities. The other day, one doctor in Karachi was shot for asking the patient to wear a mask. On Sunday, the senior-most professor of medicine in Allama Iqbal Medical College, Jinnah Hospital, Lahore Professor Tanvir u Salam, was physically threatened.

Corona is a dangerous disease. People often come late for treatment in the hospital, and death can occur due to many reasons. Why are the patients so quick to point fingers at the treating doctors?

If attendants have any complaints against HCPs, there are ways to sort out problems, but there is no place for violence. We don’t protest or agitate, no abstinence from duty in these critical days, but foolproof security is our basic right. Those who are involved in this heinous crime against doctors should be punished, as happens in developed countries.

I have recently retired from my government job as the professor of surgery. I also got corona and still am under phase of recovery. If doctors are culprits, they themselves couldn’t have suffered from this dangerous disease and might not have died. My humble request to the government is to provide foolproof security for HCPs. If the government fails to do so, doctors will definitely be reluctant to perform duties in an unsafe environment.

DR. EHSAN UR REHMAN,

General Secretary, Medical

Teachers Association, Punjab.