Attack on doctor in Turkey’s southeast prompts public outcry
A man who attacked and severely injured a doctor at a hospital in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa has prompted a huge public outcry.
Doctors, medical students, government officials and NGOs strongly condemned the attack, with the health minister vowing to do whatever necessary to prevent such incidents from happening again.
Abdülkadir Keskinli, the assailant, took his child who was suffering from high fever to the Harran University Medical School’s pediatric emergency service on July 17.
According to Keskinli’s account of the incident, the child’s fever remained high even after being admitted to the service and Bahaddin Ahmet Yalçın, the doctor in the emergency service, refused to answer his questions about the state of the child.
Following an argument with the doctor, Keskinli hit Yalçın in the head with a large block of cobblestone.
The severely injured doctor later underwent a surgery.
The doctor is still being treated in intensive care unit.
The mother of the child also blamed the doctor. “He drank tea outside the building,” Ayşe Keskinli claimed.
However, the doctor dismissed the claims. Yalçın said another doctor was in charge of the child, not himself.
But when the man threatened the doctor in charge, Yalçın said he felt the need to intervene to protect his colleague.
“He punched me and then attacked me with the cobblestone brick,” Yalçın added.
A court, which Keskinli was referred to, ruled for his arrest on July 18. Keskinli was then sent to prison.
In his testimony, Keskinli said he had no regrets.
Protests against the attack
The attack against the doctor created a storm of outrage, particularly among medical circles.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca called Yalçın to wish him a quick recovery.
“We will do what is necessary to prevent such attacks against healthcare professionals,” Koca said.
Some 200 personnel, including nurses, doctors, and other staff, gathered in front of the hospital to read out a statement to protest the attack.
Speaking at the gathering, Professor Ramazan Taşaltın, the rector of Harran University, described the attacks as “savagery.”
The Turkish Medical Association also issued a statement, condemning the violence against the doctor.
“Despite our all efforts to stop such incidents, violence against doctors and health workers continue. Life safety has become the largest problem for doctors and health workers. The officials are not carrying out any serious work to end this problem,” the statement said.
The association also called on all doctors to gather in the yards of the hospitals they work at on July 20 to protest violence against doctors.
Medical students at Hacettepe University in Ankara on July 19 met in front of the school to read out a press statement. The students held placards that read “Enough!” and “End violence against doctors!”