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Violence On Doctors?

Source: Dr Tosin Akindele.
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I vividly recall three weird incidents in a slum -based hospital where I worked about thirty years ago.

Apart from the hospital (read hospital owner) levelling all staff in status, it placed physician welfare pretty low on its priority list...even after its doctors had been physically assaulted by patients!

Dr B A had just been punched in the face by a patient. His face grotesquely swollen, he simply took refuge in his room. Nurses reported incident to the "medical director",MD, suggesting the matter be reported to the police. But the MD merely visited the consulting room, noticed that Dr BA was not on seat and placed a direct call to him to get down to the consulting room to attended to patients. His decision to personally make the check was ostensibly to ensure that Dr BA was on seat!

Dr BA got down back to his seat to the worried queries of other patients who pestered him with questions like "Doctor, what happened to your face?"

You might say Dr BA erred by not making an instant report to his MD but see an instance in which I, made a personal report to this MD:

2pm on a workday. The usual rush of the clinic had cleared. Three doctors I inclusive, piled up in a consulting room. Gisting away. A buzz over the intercom. A dire emergency in the Labour Room requiring immediate response. I rose instantly! Having assured my other two colleagues I would send for them if I needed extra hands, I raced to the stairwell. Taking the steps in twos and threes, I reached the third floor in no time. Entering the labour room, I saw a severely pale dead baby dangling from the mother's vagina, with the nurse still struggling to extract the "after-coming-head! I reached for the baby, did a Mauriceau-Smellie-Veit, and the impacted head was out in seconds...

I was outraged! What point was this nurse trying to prove...that she knows as much as any doctor? To the point of blatant "killing" of a baby? Up there, strenously struggling with a breech delivery in this day and age...when global protocol demands that unregistered breech presentation be delivered by CS? And there we were ...all 3 doctors that the nurse refused to summon in good time!

On returning to my colleagues, I told them about the incident and let them know I was going to inform the MD. Dr BA advised against it. But I felt such nurses must be prevented from practising. And if I wouldn't report her to her professional regulatory body, the least I could do was inform the MD so he could admonish her. So I placed the call...only to be handed a sack at month end "in the interest on industrial peace and harmony"!

And in another incident, the hospital secretary had just died in active service and in the somber atmosphere, and while the corpse was still on the bed in the same hospital, the MD simply decreed that "the staff meeting must go on as planned"! It took the mutiny of the enraged staff for this MD to come to his senses...

Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical doctor and public affairs analyst.