The Health Care Ministry acknowledged: medical service "103" staff is absolutely defenseless against possible aggression on the part of both patients and their relatives. And the situation is getting worse every year: the number of such incidents increases.
According to the chief physician of the capital ambulance Iskender Shayakhmetov, in 2015 they registered 17 cases of attacks on doctors. In 2016 the number of aggressive patients hasn't decreased. A couple days ago, a relative of the patient hit the doctor in face, insulted and humiliated her just because she asked about the state of health. In February, another employee of ambulance was attacked by a drunken patient, got scratched and scolded. In both cases, the men in white coats didn't write police statements. Doctor of City Children's Clinical Hospital ambulance was seriously injured in April 2016. He was beaten up by a police officer. The list could go on and on and on...
People of peaceful, humane profession save the lives of thousands of Kyrgyzstanis, are on duty day and night near beds of adult and young patients. Why in the peaceful days their labor has become unsafe? Who will protect doctors and what can make the brawlers to think before raising a hand to a medic? This question 24.kg news agency asked its respondents.
Iskender Shayakhmetov, the chief physician of the capital's ambulance station:
- Culture of the society has fallen, people became aggressive, they easily turn from the hassle and verbal abuse to physical action. Health Care Minister raised this issue at the planning meeting. He drew attention to the fact that such situation is only in Bishkek. Not only doctors of ambulance, but also of hospitals face danger. It is necessary to consider the statutory protection mechanisms for physicians.
- Do you think that the threat of penalty will stop the people?
- Yes. Furthermore, it may make sense to publish the names of those who raise hand to the doctor, in order relatives, friends and colleagues read, see and know. Our staff is really scared to go to emergency calls. Some regions of Russia in due time offered to provide medical with traumatic gun or gas cartridges, but we are categorically against it. We, people in white coats -representatives of humane profession.
Yes, the authority of doctors fell. Of course, there's our fault either. Mostly negative is written, but positive moments pass over in silence. For example, when there was the capture of terrorists in "Dostuk" microdistrict, two doctors of our team were under fire while delivering medical care to the fighter. The soldiers covered the doctors with boards, and they carried out resuscitation right on the site. When accident occurred at Alma-Ata Street, our team was almost four hours on the road near the victim, delivering medical care...
Attacks on the doctors is a problem, and it must be solved at the state level. The same city council can make a decision about bringing the perpetrators to administrative punishment in the form of a fine or community service. The higher authorities must protect us.
Zhusup Boshkoev, chief physician of the Bishkek City Clinical Hospital №1, Deputy of City Council:
- Our doctors also are beaten almost every day, someone comes and require the patient to be hospitalized. We begin to explain that it is not necessary. Many people don't know that first they need to apply to the Family Medicine Center at place of residence. If it can't help, then one sends them to the district hospital, if there are no conditions, then to the republican. We, by law, treat urban patients only, but, of course, provide emergency aid.
I am the president of the Association of Physicians-Anesthesiologists of ambulance. Sometimes the doctor comes to emergency call, but a person has already died, the body is numb, but relatives require providing emergency and begin to beat. It is clear that a person has stress, but the doctor can't be blamed. And there are a lot of such situations. Doctors work for crummy salaries, true patriots stayed. How many thousands of people we save! If not the doctors, who showed heroism in the workplace in 2010, the number of the dead would have been much more. At least 270 people came to our hospital, 250 of whom underwent surgery.
- As a deputy will you raise this issue at the session of the City Council?
- It should be raised at the legislative level. Law enforcement officer can't accompany every physician. This should be solved at the highest level. If such attitude of the people retains, soon there will be nobody to treat patients. In neighboring Kazakhstan and Russia the salary is $1,000 and many doctors are leaving.
- Why don't you turn to the police?
- We do. But no one is brought to responsibility.
Esenbek Satylkanov, health care coordinator for Issyk-Kul region:
- Our doctors are unprotected. They can be abused, beaten, unfounded complaints being written directly in Parliament, bypassing us, to the Ministry of Health Care, almost to the President. Their analysis and preparation of explanatory takes time... If I'm not mistaken, 15 years ago one of the European countries had adopted a law to protect doctors. If a patient starts to be rude, the doctor is allowed not to help. I think we should do the same. Why conscious, without mental disorders patient may impose me any requirements or insult?! Patients should know that doctors are people too.
- Can the ministry do something for you to help? Or is it also powerless?
- We are not provided any help. They work on the principle "customer is always right." That's why we spend the time to explain about the unfounded accusations. Of course, there are doctors who provoke conflict.
Talantbek Batyraliev, Minister of Health Care:
- The case is outrageous, though, I don't want to exaggerate this fact: the patient is the patient. Although no one has the right to raise a hand against a doctor or to be rude to him. It seems to me that it is time to protect doctors, who perform their duties, by the law. I, together with the members of parliament will work out this issue. We will continue to provide assistance to the patients and let the police deal with incompetent actions.
Shayirbek Sulaymanov, director of Osh interregional combined hospital:
- To be honest, in the recent time attacks on doctors increased. This is a bad sign. Doctors are health guards - the most precious thing a man has. Such actions of a separate category of people express attitude towards their health. Without respect for doctors, one won't have a good health. Physicians have been valued since ancient times. Now the time is not easy, but you need to be restrained. One shouldn't vent own displeasure to everyday problems on doctors. Doctors need protection and public support.
Good professionals go into private centers, leave the country, and the number of skilled professionals in public health facilities reduces. It is necessary to determine the punishment for those who offend the doctors. Now it is perceived as the norm, we simply keep silent, and everything is forgotten with time. Doctors don't have time to go and complain, we have a big load, so many let the situation slide. Yes, they also afraid of losing their jobs. While I don't know a single case when the one who insulted or beat the doctor was punished. Probably, it is necessary to tighten up the laws.
Elena Bayalinova, Consultant of press center at the Health Care Ministry:
- First of all, one should have a desire, the will and the understanding of the need to protect our health workers - trade unions, for example, or maybe our deputies. In my opinion, now it is absent. When it appears, then the people will have a different attitude to such things. Our health worker is backed into a corner, can't spread the shoulders because he is constantly beaten for everything - for a medical error or negligence, even for the slightest delay in the queue, if a person waited for 10-15 minutes longer.
The attitude is being formed by all branches of government, including the media. Until a different approach to this issue appears, health care workers will be beaten. Russia, for example, emphasizes the importance, necessity, exceptionality of this profession at the highest level. Without trust to physician there is no public health, no healing. If our doctors are being treated like this, it means that people take away the last faith in healing, in health, in our health care.
Alfia Samigullina, parliament's deputy:
- We have all laws on the legislative level, they work. Paramedic, who was beaten or abused, can write an application. But you know that the doctors never go to any rallies, don't participate in any political gossip. It turns out they don't take any measures to protect their good name.
- So, you as a doctor, believe that there are laws that protect doctors?
- Of course! Doctors simply don't go to the police and the courts.
- And why is it like that? Are they afraid, don't believe in justice, or consider it as a waste of time?
- No, it's just a habit, probably. Apparently, the doctors don't want to continue being engaged in these squabbles. But it is not that a doctor is afraid or someone from the parent bodies, the ministry forbids him to complain. And then we have the trade unions, which, in theory, should also advocate for physicians.