Sunday, May 20, 2007

Editorial: Deaths at RMCH, Somebody must be held responsible

Deaths at RMCH
Somebody must be held responsible

The circumstances that led to the death of nine patients at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, four on Thursday and five on Friday, following the work abstention of the intern doctors are horrifying and utterly unacceptable. These unfortunate patients, including some children and old persons, came to the hospital seeking treatment for their ailments but they were denied the needed medical assistance, which the intern doctors were oath-bound to give. And when children die under such adverse circumstances people are bound to ask the obvious question: Who will be held responsible for these deaths?

By all means, the incident at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital was blown out of proportion when an unpleasant altercation took place between the intern doctors and some attendants of patients on Thursday, which snowballed into a major disorder. From exchange of verbal abuses it went as far as resorting to physical violence, which was followed by the intern doctors calling for an indefinite strike. The doctors simply walked out of their job. Here is where the whole sordid affair takes a turn for the worse. Assuming that the doctors were not at fault how could they bring themselves to turning the hospital into a hellhole with their action that took a toll of nine lives?

We cannot but ask a couple of questions: How can doctors resort to physical violence while seeking to 'right some wrongs done to them' and turn their backs to patients under their care? Aren't they supposed to be the epitome of professional commitment, discipline, level headedness and tolerance in every situation? This trait of losing control too easily paints a sorry picture of the people in the medical profession, who otherwise are held in the highest esteem by common people.

We cannot but say that the refusal to attend to patients is tantamount to committing a criminal offence. Therefore, the relevant authorities should lose no time in defusing the volatile situation and also launching a proper investigation to hold the people responsible for the deaths accountable.

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