Strike won’t end until we see changes, say Mumbai public hospital doctors
Resident doctors at civic hospitals said their agitation would continue until the number of visitors at hospitals was restrictedmumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2017 15:19 IST
Municipal hospitals remained crippled for the second straight day as resident doctors continued their ‘mass bunk’ to protest against a spate of assaults on colleagues by patients’ relatives. The striking doctors blame inadequate security at hospitals for the increase in violent attacks on them. Four doctors have been assaulted and another threatened over the past 10 days.
The strike is likely to continue on Wednesday, various associations of doctors told HT on Tuesday evening.
On Monday, mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar had said the BMC had asked the director general of police to provide 400 armed personnel at civic hospitals from Saturday. Municipal officials said that hospitals currently have 432 security personnel. “This will be increased to 700 armed personnel from April 1,” Mahadeshwar said.
However, resident doctors said on Tuesday that they would not resume work until they saw some action “on the ground”. “They have given us assurances but no changes have been implemented yet. The mass bunk will continue until they implement the ‘two relatives per patient’ rule,” said a resident doctor at Sion hospital where 300 resident doctors bunked work on Tuesday.
At KEM Hospital, Parel, although services were not suspended, patients were inconvenienced as the OPD shut at 1pm and did not have substitute staff in the absence of resident doctors. While 180 to 200 minor and major surgeries are performed at the hospital on a normal day, only 86 major surgeries and 36 minor surgeries were performed on Tuesday. Four deaths were reported at the hospital but only two post-mortems were conducted owing to the unavailability of resident doctors.
At Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (LTMG) Hospital and Medical College, aka Sion hospital, patients were tuned away as the outpatient department (OPD) was shut. At the emergency ward, only those involved in accident and other serious cases were attended to in the emergency ward by assistant professors, lecturers and interns.
A senior doctor at Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central, said that while 60 to 80 surgeries were performed at the hospital on a normal day, all minor surgeries had been postponed because of the strike. “All lecturers, assistant professors and professors are attending to serious cases but those who need not to be operated on immediately have been asked to wait. There were no issues at the hospital,” said the doctor.
Most patients were unaware of the strike. “The guards did not allow us to enter the hospital. They asked us to come back in a few days and check,” said a Daksha Sawinya who had accompanied her pregnant niece for a check-up.
Prabha Mhatre, the relative of a patient with food poisoning said they had to wait three hours to see a doctor at KEM Hospital. “There were very few doctors at the OPD today. We did not know that resident doctors are on strike,” he said.