Upping the ante in hospital security
Outliers knows hospitals can be dangerous places to work. But a hospital in India has adopted a novel approach to tamp down violence: bouncers.
One of the new hires is Pradeep Kumar, a muscular man in shades and tattoos who rides a motorcycle to work. He and his burly colleagues keep the emergency and labor rooms from filling up with patients’ often agitated relatives and friends. The bouncers are polite, yet so tough-looking that people think twice about ignoring their orders.
“These guys look like they walked right out of an action movie,” Pawan Desai, who brought his 4-year-old daughter to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in New Delhi for treatment for a cut on her hand, told the Associated Press.
Working in an Indian hospital can be perilous. In April, a week before Deen Dayal hired the bouncers, friends of an emergency-room patient punched a doctor in the face and broke his nose before going on a rampage with hockey sticks, swinging at windows, lights, furniture and medical staff.
The medical staff at the government hospital had faced nearly one attack a month and had gone on strike 20 times over six years demanding better security. Since the hospital replaced its middle-aged, pot-bellied guards with bar bouncers, bodyguards, and wrestlers sporting muscles and tattoos, “There hasn’t been a single incident,” says Dr. Nitin Seth, the doctor who was injured in April. “These guys do a good job controlling the crowds,” he says.
Thousands of attacks occur in Indian hospitals every year, says Dr. Narendra Saini, spokesman for the Indian Medical Association.
When someone dies in the hospital, relatives often start blaming— even attacking—doctors. At expensive private hospitals, families feel especially cheated, Saini says. “They expect their patient to live because that’s what they paid for.”
Amarjeet Singh, one of the 20 bouncers now on staff at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, helps a patient on a stretcher.