Brawny bouncers are finding new employment avenues in hospitals as menacing-looking men are being hired to ward off attacks on medical service personnel and hospital assets. The move comes in the wake of instances of patients and bystanders turning violent in different parts of the State.
Ernakulam Medical Centre, a Kochi-based hospital, recently added four bouncers to its group of security personnel. The heavily-built bouncers, clad in black figure-hugging T-shirts, matching pants and shining black shoes, strategically position themselves at the hospital and keep an eye on everyone who walks in.
Incidentally, the Kerala government last week approved an Ordinance to amend the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property Act) following the daylight murder of a young woman house surgeon in Kollam. Organisations of doctors have also been demanding steps to curb what they term as increasing instances of hospital-related violence.
According to an official of the Kochi hospital, it was forced to hire bouncers after a few cases of people turning violent took place. These men were added to fortify the security system of the hospital.
The hospital staff have also been trained to handle unruly situations. A warning sign would be issued in the event of an untoward incident, which would prompt the staff to quickly assemble at pre-designated points to ensure their safety, the official says.
The bouncers are specifically instructed not to get involved in any law and order issues but to assist the hospital staff to control the situation, says T.A. Rajappan Nair, managing director of the private security agency which recruited the bouncers. “The presence of brawny security personnel will deter potential-troublemakers. One more Kochi hospital has sought the services of bouncers,” he says.
Jerry Philip, CEO, KIMSHEALTH, Thiruvananthapuram, says: “We have had a few bouncers in our security team for a long time. They look formidable and in control, which might be daunting to some, but gives an enhanced perception of safety to our staff. They have been told specifically to monitor things and ward off trouble but never to take matters into their own hands.”
Bouncers are more for the “visual appeal” but the hospital depends more on its team of managers and PROs whose job is to move around the hospital, mingle with people and to step in and defuse a situation at the slightest hint of trouble, says Mr. Philip.
The Kerala Private Hospitals Association is in the process of forming a centralised security system for its member hospitals, according to Hussain Koya Thangal, president of the association.
An expert committee will shortly come up with its recommendations on a common security system for small and medium-level hospitals, he says. The Hindu