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Resident doctors strike, but services stay unaffected in Mumbai

Only one-third of doctors join statewide strike that was called to protest the attacks on interns and resident doctors in West Bengal

mumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2019 01:02 IST
Sadaguru Pandit and Priyanka Dhomse
Sadaguru Pandit and Priyanka Dhomse
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,resident doctors,strike
Resident doctors of JJ Hospital during their protest on Friday. (ANSHUMAN POYREKAR/HT PHOTO)

Despite the statewide strike of resident doctors on Friday, medical services in major hospitals of Mumbai remained unaffected, as only one-third of the doctors participated in the protest. While routine surgeries were postponed and out-patient departments (OPD)  functioned almost half to their capacity, emergency services functioned normally.

However, OPD services were affected in Thane, as more than 100 resident doctors of the government-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj hospital (also known as Kalwa hospital) joined the protest. Though the doctors resumed work by 1.30pm, OPD services, which are open from 8.30am to 12pm, were closed for the day.

The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), a body of all resident doctors working in 16 government medical colleges of the state, had called for a one-day strike on Friday to condemn the attacks on interns and resident doctors in West Bengal.

The strike was extended across the country on Friday.

In Maharashtra, the protesting doctors wore black clothes or ribbons, made human chains and protested holding placards carrying messages against the attacks. A blood donation camp was also organised at KEM Hospital to portray their support towards patient-care. Senior doctors and faculty members also wore black ribbons on their arms while working in the hospitals.

However, as only one third of the resident doctors participated in the strike, medical services across the city’s public hospitals remained unaffected. “We only had to postpone 25% of the planned surgeries but the emergency services ran as usual. OPDs did not run to the capacity but they weren’t entirely shut. The doctors returned to work at 5pm so patient services were not affected,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean, BYL Nair Hospital.

Through the strike, MARD is also demanding a new law, focusing on violence against the doctors and demanded stringent action against the culprits of the WB mob attacks.

In Thane, more than 100 resident doctors of the Kalwa hospital joined the protest. Doctors sat outside the hospital holding placards with messages of solidarity with their WB counterparts. One of the doctors said, “Often, we have to handle 10 cases at a time. Only one security official is present at the OPD, near the lab and emergency ward. Our major demand is to increase the security cover for doctors.”

Dr Rajiv Korde, medical superintendent, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj hospital, Kalwa, said, “A total of 106 junior doctors were on strike, which affected the OPDs. The teaching staff of medical colleges stepped in to help the hospital staff. However, we too had condemned the attack, by tying black bands on ours arms while performing our duties.”

Many patients who visited the hospital went back as the OPD was shut. “I had came with my mother as she is suffering from weakness,” said Pradeep Mishra, 30, from Diva. “But after coming here I learnt about the strike. We’ve been asked to come the next day.”

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 01:02 IST