Police issue strict warning to those disrespecting doctors, medical staff

A surgeon had to bury his colleague with a shovel and the help of two ward boys at cemetery in Chennai in the middle of the night on Sunday after a mob attacked their ambulance over coronavirus fears.

The body of the 55-year-old doctor, who heads a private hospital on Poonamallee High Road, was shifted from the private hospital to Chennai Corporation’s burial ground near Kilpauk on Sunday night. However, residents gathered on the road and protested.

At Velangadu near Anna Nagar, a mob attacked the ambulance carrying Dr Simon Hercules’s mortal remains, injuring three people around midnight. The body was finally buried with police protection around 3am. Earlier, the corporation and the ambulance crew had to turn away from the TP Chathram crematorium as another group of residents had gathered there.

Dr Simon Hercules succumbed to Covid-19 at a private hospital in Chennai on Sunday. Dr Hercules was on ventilator support after he developed health complications post testing positive. He suffered a cardiac arrest and succumbed to it at 6:15 pm on Sunday at a private hospital.

“We (doctors) are humans too. This should not happen to anybody. The doctor was buried with nobody around him. Just me and two ward boys from our hospital. It is said that a man who served the society and lived for it went down with just three people around him,” Dr K Pradeep Kumar, Orthopaedic and Arthroscopy Surgeon said.

Taking up the matter on its own, the Madras High Court sent a notice to the Tamil Nadu government over the incident. The government doctors association has said the police should have sent adequate security.

The police have arrested 20 persons in connection with the incident and has issued a strict warning. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) too warned of “appropriate retaliatory measures” if the authorities fail to stop such incidents.

“It is a matter of great concern that these doctors who had died in their line of duty be treated shabbily and in such an uncivilised manner,” the doctors’ body said in a statement, adding if the state governments do not have power to stop such incidents, “they lose their moral right to govern”.