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Doctors at risk- the ugly side of the noble profession

A recent study shows that doctors are amongst the top victims of workplace crime. They are often threatened and abused by relatives of patients who die during treatment. Without going into who is right and who is wrong the report says doctors are targeted and sometimes made to pay a very heavy price if things go wrong. Calling it the ugly side of the noble profession, the study says that doctors are threatened over phone, hounded relentlessly and at times even attacked by infuriated relatives. After cab drivers, clerks at shopping malls, and police officers, doctors are exposed to the ugly world of workplace crime. At least one physician is killed every year the report says adding that health care workers have to walk a tight rope most of the times. The most common form of threat was verbal threat but even life threats were also reported. Even female doctors were not spared. But very few doctors, who were physically assaulted, actually reported the incident to the police. The report says hospitals should advice doctors on what causes aggression, how to deal with it, how to come out of such situations, how to prevent such incidents from recurring and how to report such incidents. Ultimately it is a matter of communication skills, leadership qualities and crisis management. If the doctor and the patient with his folks can talk it out and iron out the differences, such ugly incidents can be prevented from happening in future. In India, in the city of Lucknow, doctors went on a days strike on the issue of being harassed by disgruntled relatives of patients.

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