Medical staff up in arms following second assault on nurse

April 13, 2010

Medical staff in Bahrain are up in arms following a new assault on a nurse by an angry sickle cell patient, three days after a doctor was seriously injured in an attack by a patient’s relatives.

The nurse, an Indian national, was assaulted after she refused to give a patient a second dose of morphine, less than four hours after she injected him when he walked in complaining of severe pain.

“The Bahraini patient had come to the hospital at around 4.30am and was given a morphine injection an hour later,” Dr Mohammed Amin Al Awadhi, Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) chief medical officer, said. “He insisted on receiving another morphine shot barely two hours later, but the nurse explained to him that a second morphine shot within less than four hours could endanger his life.”

The patient rejected her explanation, shouted obscenities, pulled out the saline and medication tubes from his body and threatened to assault the nurse.

He later grabbed a bottle of saline and threw it towards the nurse as he threatened to run amok at the hospital.

According to SMC policy, a patient who demands morphine when it is not prescribed is referred to the police. The policy is meant to deter drug addicts from abusing the system.

Al Awadhi said that abuses should be seriously addressed.

“The Accident and Emergency Department is working under an extreme workload and is trying to handle an increasingly high number of patients,” he said.

An Egyptian doctor on Friday had to be treated at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for severe concussion after he was attacked by relatives of a female patient who later said that he had not adequately treated her.

The doctor is in stable condition, but two of the assailants will remain in the custody of the police for seven days pending an investigation of the incident.

Faisal Al Hamer, the health minister, is pushing for security action to help stop attacks on medical staff and a police unit could soon be set up in Bahrain’s largest hospital

Bahrain Medical Society secretary-general Dr Hussein Al Meer said that increasing attacks on medical staff should encourage doctors and nurses to take up taekwondo or other martial arts to defend themselves against disgruntled patients and their relatives.

He insisted however that he was not promoting the use of force by medical staff.

“We want patients and their relatives to appreciate the situation and understand that we are working under extreme conditions,” he said.



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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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