Patients die during dispute between doctors and lawyers in Pakistan

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Three patients died when hundreds of lawyers attacked a hospital in Lahore during a furious dispute with doctors, says a BBC News report. Video showed the lawyers ransacking wards at the cardiac hospital, beating up staff and smashing equipment. As panic spread, doctors and paramedics hid, leaving patients unattended, including those in a critical state.

The report says the lawyers had been protesting over the alleged mistreatment of some of their colleagues by hospital staff last month. But the final trigger for the violence appears to have been a video posted on social media by a doctor in which he poked fun at the lawyers.

According to hospital administrators, more than 200 lawyers wielding sticks stormed Lahore’s Punjab Institute of Cardiology. Hospital officials said the lawyers forced their way past security and split into groups, attacking various departments and wards. They also stormed the nurses’ hostel, breaking furniture and beating some of the staff, an official complaint from the hospital says. Lawyers also damaged several cars parked outside the hospital and set at least one police van on fire.

Officers said later they had arrested more than 20 lawyers and filed complaints against about 250 on charges of violence and assault.

There has been simmering anger among young lawyers since 20 November when half a dozen of them accompanied a colleague to the hospital for the treatment of his sick mother, the report says. There they got into an argument with hospital staff and a doctor on duty, leading to a fierce fist fight in which the lawyers were outnumbered by the hospital staff.

Both sides filed police complaints against each other but no arrests were made.

BBC News report

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