Mumbai (The Hindu): Says how could resident doctors fear for their safety when regular doctors are working; hospital management should take action against them
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday pulled up the resident doctors of government hospitals in Maharashtra for abstaining from duty, and said their conduct is shameful. Over 4,000 resident doctors have been on strike since Monday, protesting the recent attacks on their colleagues by relatives of patients, and demanding better security.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Afak Mandaviya, which has sought action against the protesting doctors.
“If you (doctors) do not want to work, then resign. You are not factory workers. Shame on you. How can doctors behave in such a manner?” the Chief Justice asked.
The Bench said, “If regular doctors are working, then how can the resident doctors fear for their safety?”
The court further said if the doctors want to continue their strike, they should be 100 feet away from the hospitals, so that the patients can be treated. There can be some cases of negligence by doctors, but mistakes may occur due to allergy, reactions. Relatives of patients cannot take extreme steps.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Datta Mane, said, around 58 patients have died across the State due to the strike.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) told the Bench that the protest was not called by it and that it has rather urged all the doctors to report to work.
The petitioner’s lawyer said the MARD had last year assured the HC, which was hearing another PIL filed by his client, that it would not call for or go on a strike in the future, and would resolve its disputes in a peaceful manner.
“If that is the case, then the protesting doctors have committed contempt. The hospital management should initiate action against them,” the court said.
Posting the petition for hearing on Wednesday, the court directed the MARD to file an affidavit stating that the protest was not called by it, and clarifying its stand on the issue.
The petitioner also sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to take steps to avoid recurrence of such protests.
Recently, a resident doctor of a government hospital in Dhule and a doctor at the BMC-run Sion Hospital were attacked by the relatives of patients.
Last year, the State had also filed an affidavit in the HC saying they had increased the police cover at hospitals to avoid attacks on doctors during when they go on strike.
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