Doctors in Turkey are opting out of specializing in medical fields that require surgery to be performed, amid a rise in violence against medical personnel with several surgeons killed in recent months.
Medical school graduates are tending to move into the dermatology, ophthalmology and radiology fields, in which medical operations less commonly conducted compared to other specialty fields, according to the results of the spring Medical Specialization Exam (TUS), a nationwide exam that medical school graduates take in order to choose their areas of interest in line with their grades.
“Surgery is a ‘heavy’ [medical specialty field]. Violence against doctors, particularly against surgeons, has been on the rise for the past couple of years. Doctors are opting for less risky specialty fields because of this,” the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish Surgical Association head Yeşim Erbil as saying.
Erbil said that even ordinary adverse reactions in medical operations were being communicated to the public as the responsibility of the doctor via the media, prompting the rise in attacks.
‘Special courts should be opened’
She added that special courts should be designated for cases into violent acts against medical personnel, to replace the current criminal courts that handle the cases.
Turkish Neurosurgical Society Executive Board member Suat Öktem said surgery was both a difficult field in medical science and a risky one due to the attacks.
Turkey has seen a rise in violence against medical personnel, surgeons in particular, with several surgeons being killed recently.
Thoracic surgeon Kamil Furtun, 56, was shot dead while on duty at a thoracic diseases and surgery hospital in the Black Sea province of Samsun in late May, and his killing sparked renewed debate and protests from a large number of medical associations and organizations across the country.
Doctors went on a nationwide one-day strike on June 1, after the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) called on all its member doctors to protest the killing of Furtun.
The TTB had also called for a past strike in April 2012 after the doctor Ersin Arslan was stabbed to death by a 17-year-old relative of his former patient in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.