Attacks against medics ongoing across Turkey
ANKARA / ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Thousands of health workers around Turkey marched on April 19 to protest the recent murder of a 26-year-old doctor Ersin Arslan by a patient’s relative. DHA photoThree paramedics were attacked by acquaintances of their patients, in two separate incidents in Istanbul on April 20, while a deputy from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) attacked a doctor in an emergency room in the eastern province of Van.
Özdal Üçer, a BDP deputy, threatened and assaulted a doctor, Health Minister Recep Akdağ said on April 20. Üçer’s wife and 11-year-old son had a traffic accident and were brought to Van Regional Training and Research Hospital’s emergency room in the afternoon of April 20. Üçer arrived at the hospital shortly after and started yelling and screaming at the medical personnel. Dr. Oğuz Eroğlu came to ask Üçer who he was, upon which Üçer attacked the doctor with fists and kicks. The security staff had to restrain Üçer, who then reportedly went to the chief of medicine of the hospital and insulted him.
Akdağ talked to Üçer and told the press that Üçer would not agree to apologize for what he had done. Doctors at the hospital said they were going to file a complaint against Üçer.
Üçer had previously signed a parliamentary petition to investigate attacks on medical personnel in Turkey.
Meanwhile, three paramedics were attacked by acquaintances of their patients in two separate incidents in Istanbul on April 20.
“We thought [the people] who came running toward us would tell us the scene of the incident, but they attacked us. They battered the windows. We have been psychologically traumatized ... They are concerned about [only] one patient; we are trying to save [the whole of] Istanbul,” said Semra Soylu, an emergency medical technician.
The attacks came two days after thousands of health workers around Turkey marched to protest the recent murder of a doctor by a patient’s relative while the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) demanded that the health minister provide safer working conditions for medical personnel.
In a related development, two motions have been submitted to Parliament calling for the creation of a parliamentary commission to probe the rising wave of violence against medical workers. The motions are expected to be debated in the General Assembly on April 24.
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s motion, signed by 36 deputies, said that the fear of verbal or physical violence was preventing doctors from doing their jobs. “Many doctor’s have lost their motivation to work,” it said.
The second motion, signed by 21 members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), put the blame on the government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Health Minister Recep Akdağ have often criticized doctors for unlawfully charging patients and neglecting their duties in public hospitals in favor of private practice.