Ramakant Boge stood in a line at KEM Hospital for more than an hour on Friday with his daughter, Riya, 4, a tuberculosis patient, to get her examined. Riya had been running high fever for a day, but when he reached the hospital counter, he was asked to return on Saturday.
With resident doctors and medical interns observing a token strike on Friday, several patients such as Riya were turned away from the city’s public hospitals.
“My daughter has been taking treatment at the hospital for the past six months, but today we were told that she would be attended to only if doctors reported to duty,” said Boge, a Wadala resident.
Resident doctors and interns from four medical colleges in Mumbai and 14 others across the state, attached to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), went on a token strike.
Resident doctors had called the strike to press for their demands including increased security at hospitals, health insurance policy for doctors and reduction in medical fee hike. Medical interns too joined the strike with their demand for hike in the stipend.
“We are going to Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) on Monday to discuss our demands once again. We will give government 15 days to implement our demands. After that we will be forced to go on indefinite strike,” said Dr Pankaj Nalawade, general secretary, KEM Hospital.
While routine surgeries were affected in KEM, Sion, Nair and JJ Hospitals, emergency services remained available.
“At least 200 routine surgeries were postponed. However, all emergency surgeries were carried out. Senior doctors managed indoor patients, and out-patient department activities (OPD),” said Dr Ravi Rananavare, dean, Nair Hospital.
In KEM, a total of 2,656 patients were treated on OPD basis. More than 200 resident doctors from Nair Hospital shouted anti-government slogans in front of dean’s cabin. “We save the patients, who will save us,” read one of the placards. “We have been asking for proper security in hospitals for the last three-four years. The higher authorities have not looked in our demands,” said Dr Farhan Hamid, general secretary, MARD, Nair Hospital.
“Resident doctors from Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Akola and Indira Gandhi Medical College of Nagpur did not participate in the strike,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, joint director of DMER.