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PMCH junior doctors end strike after three days, resume duty

JDA president Dr Shankar Bharti, a postgraduate second year student pursuing master of surgery, said, “We are calling off our strike after the college administration met some of our demands and set a one-month timeline to execute others.”

patna Updated: Sep 28, 2018 07:56 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
pmch,pmch junior doctors strike,patna
Patients at a ward of Patna Medical College Hospital on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. The junior doctors of the hospital called off their strike after three days. (Santosh Kumar / HT Photo )

Junior doctors of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) resumed duty on Thursday morning after calling off their strike on Wednesday evening amid flight of patients from the health hub following compromised healthcare services during the three day strike.

PMCH principal Dr Ajeet Kumar Varma said, “The Junior Doctors Association (JDA) of the PMCH has decided to call off the strike from tomorrow morning.”

JDA president Dr Shankar Bharti, a postgraduate second year student pursuing master of surgery, said, “We are calling off our strike after the college administration met some of our demands and set a one-month timeline to execute others.”

The primary demands of the JDA included arrest of the culprit who allegedly assaulted a medico, installing an alarm system as part of strengthening hospital security apparatus, separate the paediatric emergency from the ward and change of the private security firm tasked with hospital security.

“The police had arrested Anil Kumar, father of the snake bite victim, the same evening the junior doctors had a spat with him. We had also separated the paediatric emergency and its ward. We have already placed orders to install a security alarm system, which will be done in the next three days. Besides, we have also issued a show-cause notice to the private security firm over security lapses. I am happy that our medicos will resume duty from Thursday,” said PMCH superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad.

HEALTHCARE HIT

Meanwhile, patient-care took a severe beating and hospital services were hit during the three-day strike.

As per official data, outdoor patient registration slumped from 2,614 on Tuesday to 2,043 on Wednesday. Similarly, admission to the central emergency dropped from 464 a day before to 367 till 5pm Wednesday.

The number of surgeries conducted at the hospital till afternoon (2pm) registered a sharp decline from 65 on Tuesday to a paltry three, against an average daily 130 surgeries conducted on normal days. While nine patients died and two still births were recorded on Tuesday, the casualty figure stood at 11 on Wednesday.

The striking medicos had also forced closure of the registration at the gynaecology emergency (labour room) and asked doctors to leave their work stations at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

PEDESTRIAN EMERGENCY

The condition of the central emergency was worse, with nurses literally managing the patients. Attendants of many patients complained that doctors who came to check them in morning, did a perfunctory job, mostly advised to repeat the drugs continuing for the last three-four days.

Many attendants alleged that in absence of ultrasound report, doctors were not prescribing medicines to patients.

“Doctors who come on morning rounds are essentially dilly-dallying and doing a perfunctory job. They either advise to continue previous medication or go away in absence of diagnostic tests,” said Bhola Paswan.

DIAGNOSTICS TESTS PENDING

There were many attendants of patients in the central emergency of the hospital who complained that their urltrasound and echocardiography tests had not been done for the past three days in absence of doctors. Among them were Motilal Bhagat, Lakho Devi, Nasimul Haque and a few others. In absence of ultrasound report, doctors were not prescribing them medication, their attendants alleged.

CT scan of thorax, prescribed to Garib Muni, 65, admitted on bed number 17 in medical emergency, had not been done since September 21. She was suffering from breathlessness and put on a BiPAP machine toprovide a variable respiratory and lower expiratory pressure for easier breathing.

Chief casualty officer Dr Abhijeet Singh defended it when he said, “Since her breathing is not normal, she’s not stable and in such a condition cannot undergo CT scan as it involves risk.” He, however, did not have an answer why, in the first place, did the doctor prescribe the test. Secondly, if the CT scan was fraught with risk, why had the public-private partnership firm, extending the service at the PMCH, not refunded the patient the charges of Rs 2325 for the test, which her son Bablu had paid it on September 21.

“There was no one to check blood pressure or temperature of patients. In fact, it is seldom done in the emergency, even when junior doctors are not on strike, said Bhola Paswan, an attendant of a patient admitted in the medical emergency.

Nirbhay Kumar Dubey, son of Gaya Prasad Dubey, suffering from brain hemorrhage, said that ‘doctors’, who came to attend to his father, could not insert feeding tube since Tuesday. “Today, I went to a private nursing home where my father was earlier admitted and requested the doctor there to come and insert the feeding tube to my father. He sent a young nurse, who came and did the job in minutes,” said Dubey.

Its superintendent did not deny any of these allegations. “We have asked senior doctors to manage critical posts, including emergency and rearrange their duty roaster accordingly during the strike. It cannot be without reason that the patients are complaining,” said Dr Prasad.

Asked about the lack of ultrasound test in the medical emergency, he said, “I have already advised senior doctors to chip in.” Efforts to contact professor and head, department of radiology, Dr GN Singh, proved futile as his cellphone was switched off in the evening.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 15:58 IST