Doctors from New Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Medical College and associated Kalawati Saran Children’s hospital, called off their 36-hour strike after the administration promised to increase security guards and bouncers within 10 weeks.
Nearly 1,200 odd doctors were on strike in protest against three of their colleagues having been manhandled by the relatives of a patient.
“We called off the strike after the administration promised that they would increase the number of security guards to 350 and the number of bouncers to 34. We had also demanded that the woman who had bitten the doctor be arrested. Yesterday, we were running the emergency services and closed it today at 9 am as no steps were taken to resolve our issues,” said Dr Vivek Chouksey, president of the resident doctors’ association at Lady Hardinge.
On Friday morning, there was a complete shutdown of OPD and emergency services.
Patients admitted in the non-emergency wards were discharged while nurses attended to patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). The hundreds who approached the hospital were turned away as the hospitals couldn’t issue OPD cards.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, one of the nurses said, “We were just looking at the charts and continuing the medicine that was being given (to patients).”
The Kalawati Saran hospital has the state’s largest neonatal wing and is among one of the biggest children’s hospitals in Asia.
Tabbasum Begu, 32, who had come from Okhla for the follow-up treatment of her nine-month-old son, had to leave after finding the hospital shut.
“My son was diagnosed with pneumonia and is running a high fever. I left my kids alone at home to bring him here as it was his follow-up date, but the hospital seems to be shut. For daily wagers like us, it is so hard to miss a day of work, and now I will have to miss work again tomorrow,” she said.
Three-and-a-half-month-old Pari Bhatt was admitted on Wednesday for a high-grade fever, along with severe cold and cough. Since morning, however, she has not been given an injection.
“There was no one to attend us here... doctors refused to refer her to another hospital and asked me to take her away at my own risk,” said the mother.
Rachna Mishra travels from Kanpur every month to get her 3-year-old son Prakash treated at Kalawati for cerebral palsy, a congenital muscle movement disorder. She had to return to Kanpur without treatment this month. “It is wrong for doctors to not treat other children because of what happened with one. They are making so many of us suffer,” she said.
The doctors went on a flash strike on Thursday morning, after three of them were beaten up by relatives of a three-year-old girl who died from encephalopathy, a brain disease. One of the doctors was bitten on his arm by a relative.
“She was brought to Lady Hardinge late on Wednesday night in a critical condition after being taken to several other hospitals, but by then, her condition was critical and the parents were told right away that she may not survive,” a resident doctor from the hospital said.
When the infant died at around 5 am, her parents called up friends and family, gathering nearly 15 people who barged into the paediatric ward and attacked the resident doctors on duty.