At least eight patients have died since Friday night at government-run hospitals in Andhra Pradesh where emergency services are crippled following a strike by junior doctors, officials said Saturday.
Hospital officials said six patients died in the emergency ward of Gandhi Hospital in Hyderababd and one each in Visakhapatnam and Kurnool since Friday night. The relatives of the deceased alleged that lack of medical aid resulted in the death of their kins.
About 3,000 junior doctors in 10 teaching hospitals have been boycotting the emergency services since Friday evening to pressurize the government to accept their demands for a 40% hike in stipend and reduction in the compulsory service in rural areas from three years to one year.
They have been on strike for nearly a month to press for their demands but the government wants the medicos to call off their strike before any talks can be held.
Since 90% of the emergency services in the hospitals are rendered by the junior medicos, the strike has crippled the services. Osmania and Gandhi Hospitals in Hyderabad are the worst hit as there is hardly any doctor available to attend to the patients.
Chaotic scenes were seen at casualty wards and intensive care units of various departments at the hospitals in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Kakinada, Tirupati, Anantapur, Kurnool and Warangal.
The authorities are using the services of non-clinical specialties staff, but the measure is proving inadequate in tackling the flow of patients, especially accident and burn victims and others who are critically ill, an official said.
The patients who can afford treatment in private hospitals are leaving the government facilities but the poor have no option but to stay there and hope for an early end to the standoff between the government and the striking junior doctors, the official added.