Nearly half the surgeries scheduled at public hospitals in the city on Thursday had to be postponed after 1,700 resident doctors did not report to work over the pending demand of a revision in stipend.
About 3,500 doctors from civic and government-run hospitals in the state were a part of the ‘mass bunk’ called by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (Mard). Doctors are not allowed to strike under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act.
Although resident doctors will resume duty on Friday at 8.00am, Mard said that they would call for an indefinite strike next month if their demands are not addressed.
With resident doctors absent, senior doctors were forced to man out-patient departments (OPD) and go on rounds of wards. Hospitals such as KEM, Nair, Sion and JJ Hospital, that are usually abuzz with activity, wore a deserted look as patients had been discharged beforehand to avoid overcrowded wards.
Around 200 surgeries were postponed at the hospitals, said doctors. At Sion Hospital, where at least 100 major and minor surgeries are conducted in a day, only 23 such surgeries were performed on Thursday. JJ Hospital, however, performed around 150 surgeries. “Work was not affected,” said Dr TP Lahane, dean, JJ group of hospitals which includes GT Hospital, St George and Cama & Albless Hospital.
At KEM hospital, two-month-old Adarsh was unattended by doctors. “He was shifted out of the ICU only today. Nurses are handling patients in the absence of doctors, said Prakash Shah, Adarsh’s grandfather.
“Our lecturers work in shifts and we conducted all routine surgeries. However, we opted for simpler procedures because we need resident doctors to be present for post-operative care in case of major surgeries,” said Dr AK Gvalani, head of surgery, KEM.