Despite being wheeled into the operation theatre on two consecutive days, Anand Mhaske, 20, who sustained multiple fractures on his right hand after falling off a train two weeks ago, still has not been operated upon.
The strike by resident doctors at Sion Hospital has made it impossible for patients like Mhaske to get treatment. Despite this, on Wednesday, Mhaske was discharged from the hospital that cited "shortage of doctors" as the reason. "They asked us to come back after the strike is over. My son is in terrible pain and needs the surgery immediately. I cannot afford to take him to a private hospital," said his father Mohan Mhaske.
Even officials at civic-run Sion, KEM and Nair hospitals have discharged patients to avoid overcrowding in the wards. "We have discharged patients who don't need surgery immediately or those who have recently been operated upon," said Dr A Supe, dean of Sion Hospital. The hospital had discharged around 290 patients by Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, resident doctors from JJ Hospital, who still have not joined the strike, are handling more than their usual number of patients. The doctors treated more than 150 patients on Wednesday alone. "We are doing double work to provide treatment to patients being referred to us from other hospitals," said Dr TP Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital. "The government has agreed to a majority of the residents' demands. Resident doctors are still students and should not hold patients to ransom in this manner."
Refusing to call off the strike, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) officials have planned parallel out-patient departments outside hospitals to treat patients. "We just want the government to assure us, in writing, that our demands will be met. All hospitals including JJ Hospital will join the strike on Wednesday," said Dr Swapnil Kulkarni, spokesperson of MARD.
KEM Hospital has put up a notice stating that only patients in critical condition will be attended to.