The Minya Misdemeanour Court sentenced a woman and her husband to three years in prison on Sunday on charges of verbally assaulting a doctor, the Doctors Syndicate reported.
“This is the first verdict of its kind that we have received,” Mohamed Shawky legal consultant for the syndicate told Daily News Egypt. “Though, we do not exactly monitor all verdicts issued,” he added.
However, he said that doctors seldom take legal action when such assaults occur. “Those incidents are usually handled as a normal fight between two civilians,” Shawky said.
This verdict was issued for the first time thanks to the syndicate’s recent efforts to empower doctors to defend their legal rights when such assaults happen in their capacity as civil servants, the lawyer said.
A new bill is being discussed between the syndicate and parliamentary representatives to penalise and potentially prevent the increasing assaults against doctors.
“The healthcare ecosystem has a lot to do with assaults against doctors,” syndicate board member Ihab Al-Taher previously told Daily News Egypt. “When patients find inadequate services but are required to pay large amounts of money, their frustration is directed at doctors rather than those responsible for the hospitals budget.”
Dozens of doctors gathered in front of the Doctors Syndicate headquarters in downtown Cairo in mid-March to protest against repeated assaults.
The protest followed an assault against a doctor at Suez General Hospital who sustained a concussion and other bone fractures after the family of a sick child assaulted him.
This incident follows a string of other attacks against doctors, the most prominent of which took place at Al-Matariya teaching hospital when police officers assaulted two doctors. The accused police officers remain free and have not been referred to trial.