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Patients get relief as junior docs lift strike

Patients at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday morning after the junior doctors called off their strike that crippled treatment for the past couple of days.

The doctors had gone on strike from Sunday morning after a clash with patient attendants the night before. The junior doctors resumed work at the various wards around 8am on Tuesday.

The superintendent of DMCH, Shankar Jha, said: “The strike had a crippling effect on healthcare at the hospital. Twelve patients died during the 36-hour strike. Around 10pm on Monday, we had a talk with the junior doctors’ association. The hospital administration had a verbal agreement with the junior doctors before they called off their strike on Tuesday and resumed services from 8am. Most of their demands have been fulfilled. The rest would be met soon.”

Over 2,000 patients come to the hospital daily for check-up at the outpatient department. Rasalpur Sahila resident Chhedi Sharma was among those bereaved during the strike.

“There was no one to attend to my father, Gudari Sharma, at the emergency ward. He was admitted on Sunday morning with a blood clot in the brain. If the doctors resumed duty a day earlier, he could have been saved,” rued Chhedi at Darbhanga, 175km northeast of Patna.

He added: “My father died at the hospital around 10.30am on Monday. I tried taking the advice of private doctors. They said blood had clotted in his brain and it would be very costly to get him treated. I am poor and unable to afford expensive treatment at private nursing homes. It was the negligence of the doctors that led to the death of patients like my father.”

The junior doctors went on strike on Sunday morning after a clash with attendants of a patient who died during treatment on Saturday night.

Hospital superintendent Shankar Jha said: “We have constructed temporary wooden barricades at the gate of the emergency ward. A permanent barricade would be put up soon. Security guards, apart from police personnel, have also been deputed. The guards have been instructed to allow a limited number of attendants with each patient.”

Junior doctors’ association president Kunal Shankar said: “The hospital administration has ensured that the rest of our demands would be met soon. We called off our strike for the convenience of the patients.”

Bahadurpur resident Madina Khatun, who visited the hospital on Tuesday with an eye infection, said she had to wait in line for more than two hours. “I did not visit the hospital for the past three days because I knew the junior doctors were on strike. I reached the health hub a little late and the crowd of patients shocked me. I waited for two hours before I could meet a doctor.”


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