doctors mull legal action against attackers
The Jamaica Medical Doctors' Association (JMDA) has served warning that it is now prepared to take legal action against persons who assault its members.
The warning comes in the wake of a reported incident at the Linstead Hospital in St Catherine on Tuesday in which a woman allegedly assaulted a female doctor.
Dr Minzi Fitz-Henley, a member of the JMDA executive, revealed yesterday that the association is now seeking legal advice to determine what recourse is available to doctors who are attacked while performing their duties.
"We [are] letting everybody know that this [type of] behaviour will no longer be tolerated and that we will be seeking legal counsel when necessary ... to pursue any action that can be taken," Fitz-Henley underscored.
Giving her account of the incident at Linstead Hospital, the JMDA executive said the female doctor involved was attending to an infant in the emergency room when the child's mother got angry over the waiting time.
"She (the child's mother) put her hand in her (the doctor's) chest and pushed her off and the security (guards) had to come and restrain the mother because she was continuing to attack the doctor," Fitz-Henley charged.
The JMDA executive said the incident was immediately reported to the police and an investigation is under way.
While not providing figures, Fitz-Henley charged that there have been numerous attacks on doctors in recent times.
She said despite numerous reports to the relevant authorities, "nothing has been done about it".
"So, it has come to a point now where our safety is also very important. We won't be able to continue to help and save other people if we are struggling to protect ourselves at the same time," she noted.
In a statement yesterday, the JMDA said it was working with the police to ensure that the issue is addressed. She made it clear that the JMDA will not stand by and allow these acts of violence to continue.
"Going forward, anyone who may consider assaulting a doctor must be aware that the association stands ready to take out a lawsuit in pursuit of damages on behalf of the victim," the JMDA statement warned.