Akashdeep Singh, 15, who was injured in an accident, has been waiting to be operated upon for over two weeks at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala.
Courtesy: Indefinite strike called by nurses and ancillary staff since the beginning of this month coupled with the fact that over 100 doctors are on summer vacation.
Admitted to ward number 7 on June 6, Akashdeep, who is from Malkpur near Sirhind, was to undergo the operation last Wednesday, which was postponed to this Wednesday. Finally, he has been told to leave the hospital after the operation theatres (OTs) besides the out-patient department (OPD) building were locked for the second time within three weeks.
“My son sustained a stomach injury in an accident while riding a cycle. The operation was postponed last Wednesday, and now we have been told to leave the hospital because operation theatres have been closed,” said Akashdeep’s mother Paramjit Kaur, who works as a daily labourer.
Sukhjinder Singh, 20, who has lost his both legs in a train accident, is also waiting to be operated upon since June 11. “The pain is killing me, but I have been abandoned. The operation is being delayed, and I don’t have resources to go to a private hospital,” said Sukhjinder, who has been referred to a Ludhiana hospital.
There are many other patients facing hardship at the 62-year-old government-run hospital that serves the Malwa region along with peripheral areas of neighbouring states.
Baljit Kaur, 42, a thyroid patient, said: “I came here from Devigarh, but the OPD was locked. When we visited Mata Kaushalya government hospital, we were welcomed by long queues of patients. Poor people are being harassed, but the state government is taking no step.”
“The government is delaying its decision on the issue of regularisation of paramedical staff, while poor patients are left to fend for themselves,” said Gurmukh Singh, who had come from Barnala for skin treatment.
Protesters not ready to give up
Hospital records reveal that in general 70 to 80 patients are operated upon at the hospital every day. During the protest, however, the system has entirely collapsed. The emergency wards are being run by nursing students along with two staff nurses in different shifts. The protesting paramedics, meanwhile, are not ready to give up.
“We don’t want to harass the patients, but we are being forced to take this extreme step owing to the government taking U-turn on its assurance to regularise our services,” said nurses and ancillary staff union president Karamjit Kaur.
The union chief said they will continue to keep the OPD and OTs locked till the government issues the required notification.
Reacting to the deadlock, medical superintendent BS Brar said the hospital authorities are helpless in the face of the present crisis. “The state government is fully aware of the situation, and they are taking all required steps to resolve it,” he said.
On being asked about the mass leave of 102 doctors during such a crucial moment, Government Medical College principal BL Bhardwaj said: “It happens every year; some doctors go on leave and others carry on the work.”
The protest so far
June 4: Protesting staff lock OPD building, OTs
June 10: Services restored
June19: OPD building, OTs closed again
June 21: Nursing staff lock medical superintendent’s office