| IMA members attend a meeting on the strike at the IMA Hall in Patna on Friday. Picture by Ajit Kumar Verma |
Doctors from government hospitals, nursing homes and private clinics on Friday went on strike across East Champaran, giving thousands of patients a harrowing time.
The doctors went on strike against police for lodging a case against a medic after a patient succumbed to injuries on July 26. The Motihari chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) called the strike after the police lodged the case under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC, against Dr Dilip Kumar for allegedly ignoring the provisions of the law and the ruling of the Supreme Court.
Many patients, in want of immediate medical attention, were forced to run from one health hub to another, as medical services were brought to a grinding halt. Mughleazam Miya (24) of Misir Tola area, who was admitted to sadar hospital on Thursday night with serious head injury, was lying helpless, as his X-ray and blood tests could not be conducted.
Another patient Ajit Kumar of Mahmada village with a fractured left leg did not get any treatment. “I repeatedly visited the chemists’ shops but I could not even get medicine for my son,” his mother Rambha Devi said. The scene at private nursing homes remained similar. The doctors, meanwhile, were at the IMA Hall attending a meeting convened by IMA president Dr C.B. Singh.
Speaking on the application of the sections 304 and 304(B) of the IPC, Dr Neeraj Sinha said: “In recent times the police have been careless in levelling charges against doctors. If this trend continues, the doctors will be apprehensive while attending emergency patients with the fear of being implicated under Section 304 of the IPC.”
A person can be jailed for up to 10 years under Section 304, while charges under Section 304B can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years. Both East Champaran district magistrate Abhijit Sinha and superintendent of police Ganesh Kumar said all cases filed against doctors under Section 304 of the IPC would be converted to 304(B) after supervision by competent officials.