New Delhi: At first sight, they pass off as just security guards at a hospital but their strong built and tough looks indicate that they are bouncers kept to ward off agitated people.
These guards are stationed in key areas of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital from emergency to labour room to casualty ward and one would think twice before picking up an argument with them.
Plagued by physical attacks on doctors by agitated relatives of patients, the administrators of the hospital have hit upon the idea to protect doctors.
Such "well-built yet polite" people are on guard with the primary objective of saving doctors who are often at the receiving end.
Authorities at the Delhi Government-run hospital justify the move to resort to such a step to save the doctors from being attacked by the kith and kin of the patients and prevent professionals from going on a strike.
"They are not bouncers. They are special security guards. We don`t give them extra salary. We asked the same security agency whose personnel have provided security to the hospital to deploy well-built yet polite people," says Promila Gupta, Medical Superintendent of DDU Hospital.
The hospital in the heart of the city has witnessed maximum cases of violence against doctors, who had protested for days together last year after one of their colleagues was assaulted by a patient`s relative.
"The move to induct such people was taken following incidents of violence. Doctors` safety is also paramount. We cannot afford to have strikes every day. It is important to provide security to doctors as well. These guards manage crowds well," she says.
Gupta says there has been no incident of violence in the campus ever since these `well-built` guards took charge in April and maintained that they are not there to scare patients and others.
The move has found support from medical organisations like Indian Medical Association and Delhi Medical Association who say doctors` safety is paramount as incidents of violence have been on the rise off late.
Out-going President of IMA, G K Ramachandrappa, says it is the duty of the hospital to provide security to its doctors and protect their safety.
"The hospital has witnessed repeated incidents of man-handling of doctors and there is no question of it (the move) being right or wrong. Doctors have to be protected," he said, when asked whether the deploying of such guards is "ethical".
His counterpart in the Delhi Medical Association, Anil Agarwal, also endorsed Ramachandrappa`s opinion saying the hospital has only taken a step that would allow doctors to fulfill their duty without any fear.
"It is definitely good. There is nothing wrong. There are lady doctors who get assaulted. So, definitely all have to be protected," he says.