Doctor’s murder: Kerala’s Health University Students’ Union urges government to roll out security measures

The Kerala University of Health Sciences Students’ Union has submitted a list of recommendations before the university, which will be placed before the state government.

BySreerag PS

Published May 15, 2023 | 1:55 PMUpdatedMay 15, 2023 | 2:50 PM

Doctor’s murder: Kerala’s Health University Students’ Union urges government to roll out security measures

The students’ union of the Thrissur-based Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) has made a set of recommendations to ensure the safety of healthcare workers.

The recommendations were submitted to the KUHS after a 25-year-old on-duty house surgeon, Dr Vandana Das, was stabbed to death at the Taluk Hospital in Kottarakkara early on Wednesday, 10 May.

The university will forward the recommendations to the state government this week.

Dr Das was stabbed multiple times with a pair of scissors by an alleged drug addict and teacher, G Sandeep. The police took him to the hospital after he sustained injuries in a reported scuffle.

Following the incident, doctors across the state went on strike, paralysing the healthcare system, barring emergency care.

The students’ body made the recommendations even as the Kerala government has been seeking opinions from various stakeholders before bringing in an ordinance for the security of healthcare workers.

The recommendations were submitted on Friday, 12 May.

Related: Crime Branch takes over Dr Vandana Das murder case

The recommendations

The recommendations were made after holding talks with the students and the union’s executive members.

Dr. Vandana Das. (Supplied)

Dr. Vandana Das. (Supplied)

Speaking to South First, Aqueel Mohammed, the chairperson of the union, said the recommendations included adequate security measures by declaring hospitals as “safe zones” and establishing proper working manuals and duty hours for house surgeons and resident doctors.

The government, meanwhile, has instructed officials to temporarily exclude house surgeons from night shifts, and ensure weekly off days for them.

“There is a general mood on the campus that the medical staff requires more safety, especially in out-patient departments (OPD)s. The house surgeons have to attend to patients even in the absence of a medical officer,” he said.

The union also recommended the posting of security staff while declaring deaths.

“At present, hospitals do not have enough security staff when there is an influx of patients. In government hospitals, it is important to ensure that all security cameras are functional,” Mohammed said.

The union also recommended the government create the required number of posts in medical colleges and other hospitals to address the shortage of staff.

It also wanted on-duty house surgeons to function under the direct supervision of a senior physician.

Related:  Recurring attacks on medical staff tarnish Kerala’s image

Appeal to university

Mohammed said the university could implement some of the recommendations.

“The university should issue a directive that the posts should be allotted only after ensuring adequate security in peripheral centres,” he said.

Mohammed added that if tertiary centres do not have 24-hour CCTV surveillance facility, the university should cancel their affiliation.

The KUHS students’ body also demanded the government to provide compensation for Dr. Das’s parents and ensure that the person responsible for the crime is punished by the law,”

The state government also had discussions with Kerala Medical Post Graduate Association (KMPGA) and KGMFA regarding their grievances and an ordinance is expected this month.