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Doctor ‘repaid with broken nose’ by patient’s relatives over shortage in ICU beds

Medical association blames ‘failing gov’t system’ to ensure medical staff safety

By Maram Kayed - May 19,2019 - Last updated at May 19,2019

Doctor Rawan Sami, who was reportedly attacked on Thursday at the Prince Hamza Hospital, is seen in this undated photo speaking about the incident (Photo courtesy of Khaberni)

AMMAN — A female surgical doctor was reportedly attacked on Thursday at the Prince Hamza Hospital by a patient’s male relative.

The incident generated much backlash from citizens, with posts on social media outlets calling the attack “savage” and “despicable”.

Rawan Sami, the victim, reportedly told the patient’s relatives that there are no available beds in the hospital’s ICU.

The patient’s female relative then started to “verbally abuse” her and the male relative hit her in the face, according to Sami’s account of the story.

In a long Facebook post written as a message to the public, Sami explains her “long and tiresome” journey in pursuing her degree, which amounts to 12 years of general medicine and residency training as a surgeon.

“I work from 8am to 4pm each day, work 32-hour shifts every three days, take buses through the desert, leave my family for days, am unpaid as of yet and what do I get in return? I get beaten?” she asked the public.

She then described the “emotional and physical pain” she has been, describing her “shock” that the “people she did all of this to help repaid her with a broken nose”.

The incident spurred criticism of the “major flaws in the government’s handling of the medical sector”, as put by President of the Jordan Medical Association Ali Obous.

In a statement blaming the incident on what he called a “failing government system”, Obous said that the association put forward six solutions in the past to “help eliminate cases of violence against medical personnel” but “they were all either rejected by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Interior”.

“We asked the Ministry of Interior to charge perpetrators with a ‘public’s right’ violation but they said that can only be done if public property was under attack. Does that mean a doctor’s broken nose is not as important as a broken window?” he exclaimed.

Obous listed the other five solutions and the reason behind the government’s rejection to each one.

Finally, he concluded that “medical safety in Jordan is in danger unless the prime minister himself takes battling this issue under his wing”.

Suing media outlets that “vilified” doctors was one of the things the association’s president said has had “relative success with, due to the association’s efforts and no one else’s”.

The comments on Sami’s post ranged mostly between sympathy and wishes for a quick recovery.

However, those that did not, voiced some citizens’ “dislike for the condescending medical community”, as put by one commenter.

Hanna Khalil, another one to comment on the post, said that the doctor “probably deserved it”. She recalled her time in the hospital as “humiliating” and described the staff as “incompetent”.

However, regardless of the attacker’s reasons, a source at the Ministry of Interior, who preferred to remain anonymous, said “the ministry arrested the perpetrator and is containing the situation”.

“The ministry takes care to address this incident and has done all it could do,” the source said.

He added that both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior will hold a joint meeting to discuss the necessary measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Minister of Health Saad Jaber visited Sami on Friday, after which he issued a statement describing the attacks on medical personnel as “a violation of ethical and moral values held dear by the Jordanian society”, promising that the perpetrators will be “justly trialed”.

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