Nearly 500 resident doctors at Sion hospital went on an indefinite strike on Thursday, after relatives of a 10-month-old girl, who died at the hospital on Wednesday night, allegedly manhandled a doctor on duty. Services were partially affected at the civic-run hospital, due to the strike.
The strike inconvenienced patients scheduled to undergo surgery. "The out-patient department was running and patients were being admitted. Of the 28 surgeries planned for the day, we could perform only eight. Emergency work was not affected,” said Dr Nirmala Barse, assistant dean, Sion hospital.
The baby, Shazia Shaikh, was admitted to the hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit on Tuesday, with pneumonia. Her relatives claimed that there was a delay in attending to her, and that the doctors did not take her illness seriously.
Shazia’s relatives said that she was first brought to the hospital on Saturday as she was suffering from dysentery. Dr Vishnu Dhadwad, a second-year resident doctor, gave her Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).
However, on Sunday, Shazia was brought back to the hospital and her relatives claimed that she was in a serious condition. Her father, Farid, alleged that Dr Dhadwad refused to admit the baby. "The doctor told us that our daughter should be given one litre of water with ORS and refused to admit her," Farid said.
On Monday, Shazia returned to the hospital, with respiratory distress, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was admitted to the ICU and later shifted to the ward, on Tuesday. However, she was sent back to the ICU after she suffered convulsions and a cardiac arrest. She was then put on life support, but on Wednesday, she suffered another cardiac arrest and died. On receiving news of the death, doctors allege that the relatives assaulted Dr Dhadwad, bruising him and fracturing his right hand.
Defending himself, Dr Dhadwad said: "When the patient was brought to the hospital there was no sign of dehydration and she was able to take an oral feed."
The resident doctors on strike are now demanding better security, to avert such incidents in the future. Resident doctors attached to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) — from KEM, Nair and JJ hospitals — have also threatened to join the strike on Friday, if the demands are not met. "Our demands include beefing up security and providing security guards with required equipments, in the hospital," said Dr Pankaj Nalawade, MARD president, KEM Hospital.
The Sion police station has registered a First Information Report against the relatives.