Medical services in Maharashtra were jolted on Saturday as resident doctors in all government hospitals went on an indefinite strike to press for enhanced security and sharper surveillence on hospital premises, the doctors said.
"Over 3,000 resident doctors from all government hospitals across the state have joined the stir that began when a physically challenged doctor from Mumbai's Sion Hospital was assaulted by a patient's kin," said Pankaj Nalawade of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) from KEM Hospital.
Patients at various hospitals were hard pressed to find a doctor. Department heads at various hospitals said that more than 50% of their scheduled surgeries had to be postponed.
"This is the ninth such incident this year," Nalawade said while reiterating MARD's demand for better CCTV surveillence and security in hospitals. "We keep voicing our concerns but it falls on deaf ears."
Angered by the death of a 10-month-old baby girl, relatives assaulted the on-duty resident doctor, Vishnu Dhadwad, at Sion Hospital Wednesday. His colleagues who tried to intervene were also beaten up.
"Dr. Vishnu, who is physically challenged, sustained bruises and a fractured right hand," said Yogesh Pawar of MARD from Sion Hospital. "Relatives of patients continue to beat up doctors every now and then. There is not enough security. This has to stop."
Around 400 doctors in Nagpur's government hospitals also joined the strike Saturday. "Manhandling and assault of doctors should stop," said Dr Bhausaheb Munde of MARD. "The authorities concerned have to see to it that doctors are provided proper security."
Infant Sadia Siddique was brought to Sion Hospital Sunday for lower respiratory tract infection. According to the doctors, she was recovering well and was moved to the general ward. However, her condition deteriorated and she was put in the intensive care unit, where she died Wednesday.