Doctors urge tough penalties on attackers

Health Ministry
The Ministry of Health. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A person accompanying a patient to an Irbid hospital assaulted a doctor Monday for banning him entry into the delivery room.

It was the fifth attack on medical cadres in the Kingdom in a week, and comes two days after the Ministry of Health  threatened legal action against those who attack doctors.اضافة اعلان

On Saturday, the Health Ministry said that it will be taking necessary legal action to deal with those who assault medical cadres while they are performing their jobs. It said the purpose is to preserve the rights and integrity of medical personnel, and ensure their protection in their workplace.

There were two cases of assault on ministry employees working in Prince Hamzah and Al-Bashir hospitals last Wednesday and Friday, the ministry said. It said that it will not tolerate such cases, adding that the number of assaults on medical cadres has declined in the recent period, but it is committed to stopping this phenomenon, and preventing it from occurring.

The ministry expressed appreciation to its medical cadres for the great role they play, and pledged to exert further efforts to protect the society and provide it with various forms of health care.

Dr Ziad Al-Zoubi, president of the Jordan Medical Association (JMA), told Jordan News that the syndicate “stands by our members against such action and we regret the occurrence of such incidents with doctors”.

He said the problem has several reasons, the most prominent of which is an insufficient number of medical staff to examine a large number of patients, particularly to the emergency department.

Association member Dr Tariq Al-Khateeb speculated that standoffs could be the result of pressure which doctors are exposed to due to their long working hours. He said another reason could be the failure to activate the case classification system which shows the extent of priority of patients, differentiating between those who could wait, and others who require immediate medical intervention.

Zoubi and Khateeb concurred that the lenient penalties in Jordan would not succeed as deterrents to ensure no recurrence of attacks.

Both said that measures taken against those who assaulted doctors are mostly imprisonment for a period of six months, in line with article 187 in the Jordanian Penal Code, which can be replaced by a fine. But they noted that harsher penalties in Saudi Arabia slap 10 year prison terms and hefty fines on assailants.

Dr Abdul Latif Abbas is an internist at a public hospital, who said he was insulted and beaten last week by the brother of one of his patients.

“We need to be in a safe environment,” he said. “I am here to serve people. I have to be on the side of the people, why are we treated as enemies when we are there to help them?”

Abbas, who noted that he was shocked by the situation he was exposed, said he was tending for 12 patients simultaneously at a medical facility, when he was subjected to verbal and physical abuse.

Recalling the incident, he said one of his patients, accompanied by seven others, beat him. He said he was not sure of the reason.

But he added that “even after assaulting me, I told my colleagues not to falter in providing good services to patients.”

“I understand the concern of a patient’s family, but it is not a justification for attacking doctors,” he added.

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