Seven senior resident doctors handle the work of 20 to run the emergency medicine department round-the-clock at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Of the seven, one doctor is about to finish his tenure in 10 days.
“The shortage forces us to depute a single senior resident for each shift. He has to oversee the treatment of 150 – 200 patient during an eight-hour shift and is assisted by 15 newly joined junior residents, who do not have the experience to handle emergency cases,” said a senior resident doctor from AIIMS.
The situation is worse at the surgical emergency, where there are only two senior residents.
“To run the emergency 24*7, doctors are posted in three shifts. There aren’t enough doctors to complete all the shifts in a day. The surgical emergency is being run by non-experienced junior residents,” said the senior resident.
There is a need for at least four senior residents for each shift, wrote the resident doctors’ association recently to the hospital administration.
“This is the situation every six months, when the tenure of the resident doctors end or they quit the job to prepare for their MD/DM examinations. However, this year it is worse,” said Dr Vijay Kumar, president of the resident doctors’ association at AIIMS.
According to him, the administration has modified its selection criteria to offer the positions only to candidates who have done a course in MD Emergency Medicine, which has aggravated the problem.
“This is a relatively new course and usually people who have done MD Medicine can handle the emergency. But, the new requirement would mean that the administration would be able to hire only one senior resident this year,” said Dr Kumar.
The work pressure has forced the six remaining resident doctors to consider quitting from the premiere institute. “The RDA has demanded urgent intervention in the matter to prevent any unnecessary negative outcome in patients. The resident doctors are the first ones to get beaten up by the families and blamed by the administration,” he said.
“There is an interview scheduled for the 26th of the months and after due processes we will definitely fill in all the vacant posts. We conduct these interviews twice a year and call in candidates according to the waiting list,” said Dr DK Sharma, the medical superintendent of the hospital.