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City hospital strike

Calcutta, Nov. 10: Junior doctors ceased work at the Calcutta National Medical College Hospital, near Park Circus, late tonight after relatives of a patient scuffled with the medical staff.

As many as 120 doctors squatted on the road near the main gate and blocked entry to the emergency ward, forcing some patients to turn back.

Fandi Hazra, 63, a Murshidabad resident who suffered a stroke and was referred to the hospital, was among those who returned. “We first took him to SSKM hospital. The doctors there told us to bring him here. But the entry to the hospital is blocked as doctors are sitting on the road,” a family member said.

The death of Alexander Singh, in his sixties, in the evening triggered the assault. Police said Singh was gasping when he reached the hospital. “He was taken to the emergency ward and given oxygen. An hour later, the doctors took off the mask, probably to fix a new one or to shift him. The relatives than started arguing with the doctors,” a police officer said.

When Singh passed away, his relatives and some people from the neighbourhood heckled and scuffled with the doctors. Some people blocked the main road outside the hospital but a mild lathicharge cleared the area.

The doctors put up banners saying they will only speak to the chief minister.

The doctors feel insecure as many people easily enter the wards with patients, a source said. “The rule says that not more than three people can accompany a patient inside the ward. But here, 10 to 15 people often go in. They misbehave with the doctors,” the source added.

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