The indefinite mass bunk staged by members of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will continue today, in protest of the assault on resident doctor Prashant Patil by three policemen in a Solapur Hospital on Tuesday. Around 4,000 resident doctors across the state did not turn up for work yesterday, in a show of solidarity.
Their absence from hospitals, however, severely hit medical services in the city, especially at civic run hospitals. Several routine surgeries were cancelled. Sion hospital’s Out Patient Department (OPD) remained closed. Deans of the three major civic hospitals said that despite the indefinite strike, resident doctors from superspecialty departments reported to work.
Three drunk policemen had assaulted a resident doctor in a Solapur Hospital
The three police officers who had assaulted the junior resident doctor were suspended yesterday, including Senior Inspector Arun Waykar. MARD members, however, said they weren’t satisfied with the action taken against the trio. “We will not call off the indefinite mass bunk unless the policemen are booked under the Doctors’ Protection Act. Under this act, assaulting a doctor on duty is a non-bailable offence with imprisonment of upto three years,” said Dr Santosh Wakchoure, president of Central MARD.
The Act was passed in the state assembly in 2008 to provide protection to doctors and other healthcare staff. “Just filing a non-cognizable complaint is not enough. The Act should be implemented, especially with other assaults on medical staff by relatives having been reported in the last year itself,” added Dr Wakchoure. Meanwhile, services at civic-run Sion hospital took a hit, with only 10 major and minor surgeries being conducted yesterday.
On a regular day, doctors in the hospital carry out 400 surgeries. Dean Dr Avinash Supe said, “Our OPD remained shut on the first day of the strike and the number of surgeries was lower. However, the trauma centre functioned as usual: our senior doctors were posted there, so that emergency services would not be affected. We managed to treat 166 patients in the trauma centre, while 37 patients were admitted and 13 deliveries were conducted.”
Services at Nair Hospital also took a hit, as only 11 major surgeries and one minor surgery was carried out. “The emergency services are running as usual. Despite the strike, patients in need of urgent treatment were attended to promptly,” said Dr R Bharmal, dean of the hospital. He added that despite the strike, doctors from superspecialty departments like cardio-vascular thoracic surgery and neurosurgery were working. About 200 patients were treated in the OPD.
The dean in-charge of civic-run KEM hospital in Parel had more reassuring numbers. While 916 new patients were treated in the OPD, an additional 1,070 existing patients also received OPD treatment. “The professors and around 150 residents handled the patient load effectively. “We managed to conduct 73 minor surgeries and 25 major ones on Thursday as the residents from our superspecialty departments were working,” said Dr RR Shinde, dean in-charge of KEM hospital. Dr TP Lahane, dean of JJ hospital, said 49 surgeries had to be postponed due to the ongoing strike.
High Court to take suo moto action
“The HC has issued a suo moto notice regarding the matter, the hearing for which will take place at 11 am today,” said Dr Wakchoure. MARD members have also planned on staging a protest at state-run JJ hospital under the guidance of Dr Nagesh Ramraje, president of the Maharashtra State Medical Teachers Association (MSMTA). “If Arun Waykar is not arrested by Friday evening, members of the MSMTA will also join the indefinite mass bunk on January 4,” added Dr Wakchoure. Other associations like the Ayurvedic Doctors’ Association and Maharashtra State Association of Gazetted Officers (MAGMO) have also declared their support to MARD and plan on joining the mass bunk.