Physicians stage labor action against violence

Physicians stage labor action against violence

GAZİANTEP - Hürriyet Daily News
Physicians stage labor action against violence

Doctors all around Turkey protested the killing of their collegue in front of their hospitals. Many medical personnel around the country will also not work today. DHA photo

A doctor died yesterday, on the operating table after being stabbed several times by the 17-year-old relative of a deceased patient, in the southern province of Gaziantep.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Ersin Arslan, 26, had been battling to stay alive after the incident, but lost his struggle after an eight-hour surgery yesterday morning. The attacker was related to an 80-year-old cancer patient who had been treated by Arslan at Cengiz Gökçek Public Hospital until eventually passing away eleven days ago. Police arrested the young attacker, who was found hiding in the hospital’s lavatory after the incident.

Arslan’s colleagues protested outside the hospital to condemn violence against health personnel, carrying a bloodstained doctor’s coat. Arslan’s coffin was brought to the hospital and was buried in Gaziantep Asri Cemetery.

Arslan was married and his wife is six months pregnant.

Some hospitals in the city stopped services, aside from their casualty and emergency departments. The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) also announced that medical personnel around the country would halt all non-emergency services today.

Gaziantep Governor Erdal Ata said the murder was motivated by ignorance. “The attacker’s 80-year-old grandfather lost his life after being discharged from the hospital for his cancer treatment,” Ata said.
Minister of Health Recep Akdağ released a press statement following Arslan’s death, saying he was “deeply saddened by the fact that a member of the health family, who had been working day and night with great self-sacrifice, has died.”

Minister Akdağ further praised “the extraordinary work of our doctors and all of our health staff, despite being outnumbered,” and promised to work on “every precaution that has to be taken to reduce violence in health institutions.”

However the Istanbul Chamber of Medicine called on Recep Akdağ to resign yesterday, in a press statement on their website.

“We have seen this murder, everybody has. We have seen these murders in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Izmir, Denizli, Batman and Bursa, in medical establishments in every city in Turkey almost every day ... Only the ones who run this country have not seen these murders. The Prime Minister has not seen them. The Minister of Health caused doctors to become the target,” the statement read.

The head of the chamber, Taner Gören, said 131 doctors had gone to the police for protection in the past year on private broadcaster NTV yesterday.

Compiled from Doğan News Agency and Anatolia News Agency stories by the Daily News staff in Ist