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20 days of indifference

HIPPOCRATES MUST have surely rolled in his grave seeing a stab victim stagger towards Hamidia Hospital?s emergency carrying her intestines in her own hands or a dying old man stranded on his stretcher outside the hospital?s locked main gate while hundreds of junior doctors remained mute and indifferent spectators.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 15:09 IST

HIPPOCRATES MUST have surely rolled in his grave seeing a stab victim stagger towards Hamidia Hospital’s emergency carrying her intestines in her own hands or a dying old man stranded on his stretcher outside the hospital’s locked main gate while hundreds of junior doctors remained mute and indifferent spectators.

The mere reason for the doctors’ almost criminally apathetic attitude – They were on strike! The 20-day strike by anti-reservation junior doctors of Gandhi Medical College (GMC), Bhopal saw several incidents that could be considered utter violation of the `Hippocrates Oath’ – the most revered code of conduct doctors the world over pledge to follow in their profession.

About 75 deaths occurred at the hospital during the strike period, from April 15 to June 2, and well-informed sources claim many of them were the result of lack of doctors in the hospital. “Almost 20 patients died in the first five days of the strike due to the sudden withdrawal of anti-reservation junior doctors who went on strike without any prior notice,” said a source.

Besides displaying senseless indifference towards helpless patients, striking medicos also tried their best to belittle their own profession. By hanging a stethoscope in a dog’s neck or by polishing shoes to register their protest against reservation, the medicos in fact demeaned themselves only.

Although none of the so called human rights activists were offended by the junior doctors’ gestures, a cobbler in Indore has put on an apron and also wears a stethoscope while repairing shoes at his kiosk these days.

Striking medicos could have done well not to provoke this tit-for-tat. Certain other measures, sweeping roads and cleaning cars for example, which the medicos resorted to, to portray their post-reservation-future fears, could also be considered as disrespect to the notion of dignity of labour and other professions.

Sources claimed even GMC Dean Dr Nirbhay Srivastava was not too amused with the striking medicos’ ploys and reprimanded their leaders for resorting to immature ways of protesting. The Dean had taken strong exception at effigy-burning, funeral procession, jeep rallies and certain other irresponsible actions of medicos during the strike, sources added.

Friends forever
THE ONE heartening thing that came out from these 20 days of the reservation stir is that the camaraderie between pro and anti-reservationist medicos is still as strong as ever.

Although members of both factions were ideologically divided yet on a personal front they remain friends forever. Medicos of both factions at the GMC were seen eating together, chatting as usual and, surprisingly, even discussing about their pro and anti-reservation agendas with each other during the stalemate.

No sooner the strike was called off this afternoon, all junior doctors resumed duties as usual and were seen working together in their wards like nothing had ever happened.

First Published: Jun 03, 2006 15:09 IST