Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar: Doctors Under Attack as Coronavirus Numbers Continue to Rise

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The Coronavirus pandemic, which hasn’t left any place in the world untouched, is also taking a heavy toll on the people of Pakistan. Not only are patients suffering, doctors are also in danger, and not only from the terrifying virus.

Dr.Amara Khalid, who works in Mayo Hospital Lahore, took to her Instagram account to share the horrifying ordeal she faced while performing her duty as a doctor in the COVID ward in Mayo:

“The workers showed utmost courage last night. They locked the ward door somehow and asked Dr Bilal to lock from inside too and stay inside the ward because they all would have killed him. God Forbid. The patients inside were crying and asking Dr Bilal to hide. But he kept saying my wife is outside, although the workers had told him I was in sister’s office. He ran and tried to come out of the other door but the trouble mongers figured out and gathered around that door too. Then he rushed to the patient’s washroom like THAT, without any kit to see if there was any way to get out. Some more workers joined during that time and it took them almost an hour to get that space cleared so we all could come out. The situation only got under control when the police finally came. Later, patient’s husband came and profusely apologised for everything. But since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about everything. I don’t know whose fault is this.. I don’t know whether it’s government’s fault who has failed to provide even the basic necessities to doctors, let alone security or it’s media’s fault who is widely responsible for this deeply ingrained mistrust and disrespect for doctors in our society. We’ve been reading so many stories on the internet from all over the world about COVID-19 but none of this sort.
This pandemic might end in a year or two but the deep-seated ignorance in our society will take eons to go.”, she concluded.

It seems this was not an isolated incident either.

A mob on Friday night attacked Civil Hospital, Karachi while attempting to assault all medical staff on duty. Up to 70 people barged into the hospital and forcefully took the body of a deceased Coronavirus patient from the emergency ward. The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Khadim Qureshi, confirmed the harrowing incident and stated that the police were asked to lodge an FIR against those involved in the attack.

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Another incident of the same nature took place in Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, when a 50 year old woman passed away after being brought in in critical condition from unconfirmed causes. The doctors on duty ordered a Coronavirus test to determine the cause of death, which angered the woman’s son, identified as Shahzad Advocate, who in turn lashed out along with other family members, attacking doctors and damaging hospital property. Shahzad said that his mother had been a cardiac patient and accused the doctor on call of ignoring her plight and instead ordering a coronavirus test.

Medical professionals fear such incidents will only increase as the Coronavirus cases in Pakistan continue to rise at an unprecedented rate. Hospitals have begun to get overwhelmed by the influx of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients and have long warned that if the government continues to ease lockdown restrictions and allows the virus to spread rapidly, a point would come when they would have to choose between saving one of two people.

As of May 30th, Pakistan has 72,460 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and a peak is predicted in the coming weeks.

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