Acho Singh (second from right) with son Vijay Singh at PMCH on Thursday. Vijay’s operation was cancelled because of the strike. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Lakhisarai resident Vijay Singh lay on his bed in the emergency wing of Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) on Thursday in the hope of getting his surgery done but his wait seemed to be endless. Vijay's operation was cancelled on Thursday and none of his relatives was informed about this till 5pm.
Octogenarian Acho Singh, Vijay's father, was visibly angry with the hospital administration.
"My daughter-in-law just informed me about a strike. We were not informed. This is such a callous and irresponsible attitude," said Acho.
The paramedic staff working on contract at PMCH, including operation theatre technicians, dressers, echocardiography technicians and others, went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday to protest against the state government's move of not regularising their services. The paramedic workers' strike continued on Thursday.
Vijay was admitted in PMCH on Sunday with a knee injury. His right leg's knee joint was ruptured in an accident three days ago. Doctors had put a plaster on his leg and his surgery was supposed to be conducted on Thursday. According to doctors, delay in such kind of surgery can minimise chances of recovery and can affect the mobility of the patient.
The contract term of many employees have either expired or is about to expire. The contract paramedical staff are irked over the government decision of not giving them extension while on the other hand they are also annoyed that the government has initiated the process of appointing regular paramedic staff.
On Thursday, only 15 out of the 30 planned operations were conducted at the PMCH. The situation at the other state-run medical colleges was no better. At NMCH, all 30 planned operations were cancelled while at Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH), Gaya, all the four scheduled operations were cancelled and only 60 per cent planned operations could be conducted at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur.
"On Thursday the situation improved a bit. Yesterday (Wednesday), 30 operations were planned but only 15 were conducted. Some of the patients had to go through a lot of ordeal. There was a patient who was readied for the process thrice but his operation was cancelled at the last moment. Apart from conducting 15 planned operations, we were able to take up a few emergency cases because we have some regular operation theatre technicians at the hospital. We also took help of trained professionals who know how to sterilise the operation theatre equipment, a work which operation theatre assistants are supposed to do," said an anaesthetist at PMCH.
The chairperson of Bihar Rajya Anubandhit Para Medical Karmi Sangh, Rajesh Kumar, said health department officer on special duty Shankar Prasad held a meeting with them on Thursday but the meeting did not yield any result and he confirmed that the association will continue with its strike on Friday.