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Patients suffer as 4,000 doctors in Maharashtra bunk work in protest

Published On : 21 Mar 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit : The Hindu

Mumbai (The Hindu): Nearly 4,000 resident doctors across the State bunked work on Monday and individually submitted leave letters to their seniors, saying they feel threatened after repeated attacks on their colleagues.

In the last 10 days, three doctors were assaulted by irate relatives of patients who died during treatment at hospitals across the State. The severe assault on one of them could result in loss of vision. On Monday, two incidents were reported at the Government Medical College in Aurangabad and Wadia Hospital in Parel, but authorities did not confirm them.

Representatives from the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) and other doctors met with Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who asked them to return to work immediately. However, the doctors declined saying the wanted some concrete measures to be taken first to prevent future attacks.

Patients affected

The mass leave inconvenienced thousands of patients at public hospitals. More than 500 surgeries were cancelled and several patients were turned away from Out Patient Departments (OPD). Only emergency cases were handled by senior doctors, who were on duty. At KEM Hospital, Parel, only 1,400 patients were treated in the OPD instead of the usual 6,000-odd. Only 98 major and minor operations were performed.

A 52-year-old man from Ghatkopar who had suffered a stroke was sent back after basic treatment. “We have undergone some tests, but there are no doctors. We have been called back after two days,” Phukan Pandey’s wife, who had a tough time lifting him onto the stretcher and then taking him back to the cab, said. Mr Pandey is paralysed on the right side due to the stroke.

Sumanbai Shinde, another patient at Sion Hospital who underwent a cataract surgery, was given discharge despite swelling in her eye. “They had first said she will require two more days in the hospital, but discharged her all of a sudden on Monday as there was no doctor available,”Ms. Shinde’s husband, Ram, said.

‘Stop the mob’

Lack of security at hospitals and inefficient guards is a main reason for the attacks, say doctors. “When a mob enters and we ask the security to control it, they tell us that the relatives are not listening to them. These guards have simply been given uniforms but they are as good as not being there,” said Aniket Wadal, a first-year resident doctor at Sion Hospital. “If one or two relatives get aggressive, the situation can be controlled. But the problem is that a mob of relatives is allowed to enter the hospital.”

On Monday, all the civic hospitals including Sion, KEM and Nair closed their gates and allowed only a limited number of people to enter.

Pass system soon: BMC

On Monday, the civic body in a press release announced that hospitals will be introducing a pass system that allows only two relatives to be with a patient at a given time. “This is being planned for the past two years. It is better if we see something implemented in reality,” Dr. Sagar Mundhada, president of the youth wing of Indian Medical Association, said. The civic body said entry points at all hospitals will be well-manned. The patient and two of his relatives will be given colour-coded passes. “CCTV footage from the hospital will also be routinely monitored,” civic officials said.

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