594 doctors died during second wave of COVID-19, maximum deaths in Delhi: IMA

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that as many as 594 doctors died during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Giving a breakup of a maximum number of doctors’ death in Indian states and UTs, it said that 107 doctors died in Delhi alone.

State-wise data put out by IMA shows that nearly every second doctor who died in the second Covid-19 wave died either in Delhi, Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. These three states together account for nearly 45 per cent of the doctors who died in the second wave.

Overall, the IMA said nearly 1,300 doctors have died on the line of duty fighting Covid-19 ever since the pandemic began last year.

The IMA also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking an effective and strong law “against healthcare violence”. In a letter to the Home Minister, IMA referred to an incident in Assam on Monday in which a mob thrashed a doctor after a COVID-19 patient died and said there was a “barbaric attack” on Dr Seuj Kumar.

“It was an extremely inhuman attack,” the IMA said. The doctor was working in the Covid care center in the Hojal district of the state. Indian Medical Association urged the minister to consider its appeal on an emergency basis and enact the strong and effective Act to safeguard the healthcare professionals of the country.

IMA said that healthcare violence is violent incidents directed against doctors, healthcare staff and healthcare establishments with or without reason. It said that the incidences of healthcare violence have increased over the years and have become widespread and pose threat to the medical practice.

It said that the medical fraternity has been working tirelessly during the pandemic and is also facing a serious threat from healthcare violence.

“There are many incidents of healthcare violence taking place across the country. Doctors and healthcare staff is finding it difficult to work under the stress of violence. Healthcare violence has become an alarming phenomenon across the country. The real size of the problem is largely unknown and recent information shows that the current knowledge is the tip of the iceberg,” the letter said.

“India needs a comprehensive, uniform and effective law against the healthcare violence. We request you to kindly approve an effective and strong act against the healthcare violence,” it added. IMA also sought “immediate strict action” on culprits in the Assam incidence.

IMA had earlier in the day urged the Assam government to take strict action against those responsible for the assault on the doctor. It demanded that all hospitals should be declared a protective zone.

The Assam Medical Service Association had also written to IMA over the issue.