The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Turned out, patient dies without help

New Delhi, July 5: Sarvesh Kumar, 35, died after he was pushed out of an AIIMS emergency ward because resident doctors went on strike.

Sarvesh, from Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, had been brought to the country’s top hospital around 12.30 pm complaining of severe stomach ache and fits. He was prescribed some medicines and given an injection but before he could be taken for further tests, at 1 pm, the doctors stopped work and the man was sent out on a wheelchair.

His family ' like that of other patients ' was told to take him to Safdarjung Hospital across the road. They did, but did not find a place in the emergency wards there which were overflowing with patients from the two hospitals.

About three hours later while they were still waiting outside Safdarjung, Sarvesh died, as his brother and wife watched helplessly.

As the patient they had turned out lost his battle for life, resident doctors at AIIMS declared that the strike against the sacking of their director P. Venugopal was indefinite.

“Just the reinstatement of Venugopal is no longer enough. Emergency services at AIIMS will remain closed till (health minister Anbumani) Ramadoss resigns,” said Vinod Patro, the Residents Doctors’ Association chief.

Subodh Kumar, blood all over him, was another patient bundled out of an emergency ward. The auto-rickshaw driver had been hit by a speeding car. With four suspected broken limbs and unable to talk, he managed a whisper: “Take me to senior doctors; they will treat me.”

He was wrong.

Split for a month over Venugopal, the faculty and resident doctors jointly stopped work against his sacking.

The faculty association, which had largely opposed the director, went on a 24-hour flash strike against the “autocratic manner in which Venugopal had been removed”. “We will meet tomorrow evening to decide whether to continue the strike. We hope we won’t have to,” said V.K. Khaitan, the secretary.

During the faculty strike, none of the medical services at AIIMS will be operational, except in-patient care. “We have a responsibility towards those already admitted as patients here. They will be taken care of,” said Khaitan.

But resident doctors who manage the emergency wards did not think twice before pushing out patients, some of them without first-aid.

“At least 250 emergency cases came after 1 pm. All of them were turned away,” said Anita, nurse-in-charge of the AIIMS emergency wards.

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