Patients suffer as doctors strike in public hospitals

The strike that began on Thursday and will continue today has the authorities worried for the safety of victims during Ganesh visarjan; meanwhile, several patients have no one to attend to them

After the kin of a 10-month-old girl beat up a resident doctor at Sion Hospital after her death, resident doctors of the facility went on a strike on Thursday, to be joined by their counterparts in state- and BMC-run hospitals the next day, causing patients considerable botheration.

Furthermore, as doctors want to continue the strike today, the government fears that victims of any mishaps during Ganesh Chaturthi may also have to suffer.

Patients at KEM Hospital had to wait for medical attention, as doctors went on strike on Thursday night. Siblings Nasteen and Naved, suffering from an eye infection, were told to seek a discharge from Sion hospital due to the strike

Sion hospital had postponed 200 surgeries on Wednesday.

"We have considered their (resident doctors') demand for more security and we will review the situation and the security. But continuing the strike is only affecting patient care.
With the major Ganesh visarjan processions starting tomorrow, we will see an increased load of patients in public hospitals and doctors should do their duty for patients' sake," said Dr Praveen Shingare, director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

After two meetings with the civic and state authorities yesterday, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) decided to carry on the strike on Saturday, to protest violence against doctors.

Resident doctors from all major teaching hospitals in the city JJ, St George, GT, Cama & Albless, Nair and KEM have now joined the strike.  Dr Pankaj Nalawade, president of MARD said, "The medical strike will continue tomorrow and all medical colleges across the state will also join us."

Patients suffer
Patients at various hospitals had a tough time in finding a doctor.

Take the case of Nasteen (15) and her brother Naved (21) who were admitted in the Sion hospital's ophthalmology ward for acute infection in their right eyes.
The duo had used the same pair of contact lenses and landed up with red swollen eyes, but since the last two days not a single doctor has seen them.

"No doctor has come to see us since morning. One came to tell us that we could take a discharge as there were no doctors because of the strike. We are leaving as there is no point in waiting in the hospital if there is no doctor to see us," said Naved.

In fact, patients who were wheeled in the emergency unit of the hospital were conveniently asked to look for a bed in a private set-up.

Farooq Mehboob Shaikh had tested positive for dengue and had a low blood platelet count.

"He had urinary bleeding and we got him to Sion hospital at around 1 pm. Doctors took him in but told us that they were on a strike and that it was better if we took the patient to a private hospital," said Shaikh's friend Vishwananth.
Shaikh did not even get an ambulance to ferry him to the private hospital. His relatives had to hire a taxi to a Goregaon hospital.

Dr MH Shah, deputy dean, Nair hospital, said, "All the routine surgeries were postponed."

Dr Nirmala Barse, assistant dean, Sion hospital, said, "We could not perform the routine surgeries in the absence of resident doctors. We did eight surgeries on an emergency basis."

Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM hospital, said, "We performed 50 per cent of the planned surgeries.

There was a meeting of resident doctors with the municipal commissioner and we had a discussion to call off the strike, now it's up to them. No doubt patients suffered, but all our senior doctors are on duty and handling emergency cases."

Dr Shingare, said, "The government hospital doctors initially told us they would go on a token strike and now they have decided to go on an indefinite strike. We have to understand the side of the doctors as well as the patients, and find the reason of the discord instead of striking work."

The trigger
In wee hours of Thursday, some 500 resident doctors of the civic-run Sion hospital struck work, after one of their resident doctors, Vishnu Bhadwad, was hit by aggrieved relatives who lost their 10-month-old child, Sajiya Shaikh, owing to alleged delay on the part of the doctors' in admitting the child to the hospital.
After that, four of the child's kin, Kurshid Sheikh (35), Shabnam Sheikh (22), Sadam Siddique (18) and Mehtab Siddique (20), all residents of Dharavi, allegedly beat up the doctor. They are currently in judicial custody.

Doctors Demands
Fill all posts of security personnel
Increase CCTV surveillance on hospital premises
More intercom facility
Walky-talky to all security personnel

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