It has been about two weeks since November 19, when a patient's wife attacked the doctor at RAKUS the intensive care unit, but the injured doctor has not yet returned to work. She has been given an extended sick leave.
She was attacked after she informed the patient's wife of a decision by a consortium of doctors, from which it emerged that the attacker's husband had suffered brain death and should therefore be disconnected from the artificially life-sustaining facilities.
The doctor's lawyer, Jānis Davidovičs, told LTV that his client's "version was quite simple, that she was instructed to announce that decision, which she also announced, which was immediately followed by that reaction, that you will not do it [disconnect the equipment]. And in the form of aggression, there was this attack. She was strangled with a lanyard, with necklaces, scratched, and her hair ripped out.”
As the doctor was assaulted in the workplace while on duty and the injuries were intentionally inflicted, the lawyer, with the support of the victim and the hospital, approached the police asking for the administrative violation proceedings to be reclassified as criminal proceedings, with more serious consequences.
“In connection with the hospital event, the State Police has initiated an administrative violation procedure for the alleged infliction of minor bodily injuries. An expert examination has been assigned to the victim and its results are awaited. If the degree of bodily harm proves to be more severe, of course, it will be decided to initiate criminal proceedings,” State Police spokeswoman Gita Gžibovska told LTV.
The victim also claims compensation of EUR 8,000 for the damage suffered.
Questions about the safety of doctors and who and how it would be better to announce such news have been discussed extensively on social networks. According to the Eastern Hospital, reclassifying what happened as criminal proceedings could allow some sections of the public to rethink their behavior.
Riga East Hospital Board Member Haralds Plaudis said the hospital also discussed the possibility of introducing body cameras, similar to that of police officers.
"Of course, we won't be attaching such a camera to every doctor. But obviously, it's intensive care, it's ambulances and patient admissions clinic where there are sensitive situations. Of course, these issues also need to be viewed in a complex way from a legal and patient safety perspective," Plaudis said.
Cases of patients showing aggression towards staff are common, and so far, for the most part, it has been one side's word against the other.