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Medic strike puts patients in pain

Sahnaz Khatun with her son at PMCH on Wednesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Khusrupur resident Surendra Prasad, who fell from his roof on Wednesday morning, was writhing in pain at Patna Medical College and Hospital’s emergency wing but his family members did not find one doctor to attend to him.

The junior doctors of the hospital resumed their strike on Tuesday night after the 24-hour ultimatum to the administration to take action against a special task force of police lapsed.

Although the administration claimed there was no problem, a visit to the ward told a different tale.

Prasad told The Telegraph: “If any doctor would have attended to me, he/she could have given me some painkiller and my pain would have alleviated by now. But since morning, none of the doctors have attended to me. Had there been no strike of the junior doctors, I might have got some medical assistance. The hospital administration should immediately resolve the issue of the junior doctors.”

Doctor sahab aa hi nahi rahe hain, subah mein admission karaye hain. Saline to nurse hi lagai hai (The doctor has not come, I admitted him in the morning. The nurse put on the saline),” said his brother-in-law Ranjan Kumar Verma.

He alleged that not one doctor attended to Prasad since he was admitted around 9am.

The junior doctors’ strike has taken a toll on patients in the emergency wing and other wards where healthcare greatly depends on the services of these medics. There are around 600 junior doctors in the health hub, who are assigned duty in their respective departments.

The junior doctors went on strike in protest against inaction on police officers, who allegedly thrashed them on Monday.

They gave the college administration a 24-hour ultimatum on Monday evening to take action against the police officers. The strike was resumed around 10.15pm on Tuesday.

Sources said the junior doctors would hold a meeting in the evening to decide on their course of action.

“We would meet the principal and put our demand before him once again. We are helpless. We have no other way to make the administration think on our demand. Often junior doctors are beaten up by the attendants, we have not been provided with any security,” said one of the junior doctors.

Patna Medical College principal Amar Kant Jha Amar, however, claimed that everything was under control. “The civil surgeon has provided us with 17 doctors. All the senior doctors are also present round the clock. We don’t have any problem in handling our emergency wing.”

He added that action could be taken against the junior doctors if they didn’t call off their strike. “We would ask the junior doctors to vacate the hostels. Stern action would be taken against them if they don’t resume work,” he said.

The strike was not called off till the filing of this report.

The patients continue to suffer in the meantime.

The patient attendant, Ranjan Kumar Verma, said: “My sister is making rounds of the doctors’ chambers, but no one has come yet to treat my brother-in-law. She met two to three senior doctors but they said they couldn’t do anything for the ongoing strike. They are hardly concerned about their duty.”

Sahnaz Khatun, whose 10-year-old son Sarfaraz Khan is also admitted in the emergency wing, looked worried too.

“My son had an abdominal surgery on Saturday, but today (Wednesday), no doctor came to check up on him. I am very worried. Doctor kab milenge aap bataiye na (When will the doctor come, please tell me),” she said.