NMCH junior doctors go on strike, their 3rd in a week
At a time when the state’s crisis management group (CMG) was discussing on Wednesday ways to tackle the unprecedented phase of the coronavirus pandemic, junior doctors of Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMHC), a dedicated Covid hospital in Patna, went on an indefinite strike, their third such stir in a week in protest against the assault on doctors and other staff at the hospital.
The junior doctors of the 500-bed government’s premier health institution decided to boycott work after attendants of a Covid-19 patient, who died in course of treatment, allegedly went berserk and assaulted them and other hospital staff on Tuesday night.
About 370 Covid patients, most of them under critical care, are undergoing treatment at the NMCH.
Junior doctors, numbering around 150, play a crucial role in management of Covid at the hospital, already facing tremendous resource crunch due to heavy load of patients.
Health minister Mangal Pandey and principal secretary (health) Pratyay Amrit, refused to respond despite repeated calls.
NMCH officials, pleading anonymity, said they were striving hard to win over the agitating doctors to put off their strike during the crisis.
One of the attendants, Ashutosh Dubey, said chaos and confusion prevailed in the hospital after PG doctors began refusing to attend on critical patients despite repeated pleas. “Oxygen supply to beds was suspended for some time in the night as well. However, it was restored soon on intervention of senior doctors and NMCH management,” he said.
This is the third time this week when junior doctors, who are doing PG courses, went on flash strike, demanding safety and security on the campus. The junior doctors and subordinate doctors allege that they were often abused and assaulted by kin of the patients.
Junior doctors’ association president Ram Chandra claimed situation at the NMCH was not improving despite announcements and assurances from the minister concerned and senior officers. “We will not resume work until the health minister and principal secretary, health, visit the NMCH and fulfilled their demands,” said Chandra.
The junior doctors have been demanding immediate deployment of paramilitary forces, appointment of doctors and other health staff like nurses and ward boys as per requirement and availability of proper medical infrastructure.
Meanwhile, with 13,374 new cases of Covid-infection detected in the last 24 hour, total number of active cases in Bihar has mounted to 98,747 on Wednesday.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar expressed his grief over the demise of Pankaj Kumar Singh, director of industries department, due to Covid. He was undergoing treatment at a government hospital where he was admitted in a serious condition.