Assault Again- 4000 doctors protest and go on a mass leave in Maharashtra
Doctors called it a strike after a differently abled ( polio afflicted) doctor was allegedly beaten up and thrown on the ground by the relatives following a patient's death at the Sion Hospital.
Mumbai: 4000 resident doctors across the state of Maharashtra under the banner of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, put laid down their pens and put their stethoscopes aside after a series of assaults were reported from various corners of the state.
It is reported that 6 assaults on resident doctors have taken place in a matter of week. While the assault reported from Dhule had left the doctor blind in one eye, a total of 6 more incidents have been highlighbted from hospitals in Nashik, Sion ( Mumbai), Aurangabad and latest being Wadia Hospital ( parel). The doctors since then have called for a mass leave to oppose the growing instances of violence.
Resident doctors at the civic-run Sion Hospital in Mumbai stopped reporting to duty from Saturday to protest recent incidents of assault on doctors. On Saturday, a differently abled ( polio afflicted) doctor was allegedly beaten up and thrown on the ground by the relatives following a patient's death at the Sion Hospital. In a letter to the Dean of Sion Hospital, the resident doctors said they were unable to report to the duty as they couldn't "concentrate" on the work. They stopped working from 7 pm. It is reported that the their counterparts from other government hospitals in the state also joined on Monday
The latest attack came to a resident doctor working with the emergency unit of Wadia Hosptial in Parel who was beaten up for non availability of NICU ventillator bed for a patient.
"The current spate of attacks on resident doctors is worrisome. We are not able to concentrate, hence we have decided not to report to the duty (at Sion Hospital)....There is urgent need to beef up security at government hospitals," an office-bearer of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors said.
The issue also came up before the Bombay High Court with an activist filing a petition seeking a direction to the doctors to report to work immediately. The patients in various government-run hospitals faced the brunt as the doctors did not report to work.
At most of the hospitals, some senior resident doctors looked after the daily health check-ups of the patients, an official of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said. The emergency services were, however, not affected due to the doctors’ protest, he added.
“There are a couple of long-pending demands from the state government, including higher wages and more security at the government hospitals,” a senior MARD official said on condition of anonymity. “Both the demands have not been addressed to our satisfaction. Hence, we get attacked frequently and the state authorities fail to address the issue,” he added.
The MARD had earlier assured the Bombay High Court that it would not give a call or go on a strike and would only hold peaceful demonstrations highlighting their grievances. State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan said, “We are holding negotiations with the MARD members. There has been a substantial financial allocation in the state budget for infrastructure development.
“We are keen on increasing the number of doctors (in government hospitals) as well and have taken steps towards it. We need some time, so that the changes can be felt.”
Meanwhile, social activist Afak Mandaviya today approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the resident doctors across the state to call off their protest and report to work immediately. The petition also sought a direction to the state government to look into the issue and take necessary action. The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing by a division bench tomorrow.
Mandaviya had earlier filed a public interest litigation highlighting the issue of doctors frequently going on strikes, causing inconvenience to the people.
“During the hearings on the PIL, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors had assured the court that henceforth, it would not give a call or go on a strike anywhere in the state and would only hold peaceful demonstrations highlighting their grievances which included attacks on doctors by relatives,” Mandaviya’s lawyer Datta Mane said.
He contended that by refusing to report to work, the doctors were committing contempt of court.
Mane said the state government had assured the High Court earlier that it would provide police security at the state and civic-run hospitals to avoid such attacks on doctors. “The government will have to inform the High Court what steps it proposes to take now,” he added.