KEM docs call off strike,resume work

Suffering from severe chest pain,35-year-old Gausia Ansari,travelled all the way from Malwani to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Parel on Tuesday morning only to find that the out patient department was completely shut as more than 700 resident doctors were on strike.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2009 12:43:38 am

Suffering from severe chest pain,35-year-old Gausia Ansari,travelled all the way from Malwani to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Parel on Tuesday morning only to find that the out patient department (OPD) was completely shut as more than 700 resident doctors were on strike. The doctors were protesting the assault on five doctors by relatives of a patient at KEM Hospital. In the incident that took place on Monday three of the five doctors were hospitalised. The strike was called off on Tuesday night and doctors will resume work today.

Routine medical services were hit at KEM Hospital on Tuesday after agitated resident doctors demanded immediate action against the relatives and suspension of inactive security guards on duty. Doctors also demanded enactment of a pending bill that will protect the doctors from such assaults.

“We went to the emergency ward but were told that the doctors are on leave. We were asked to go to some other hospital,” said Salim,Gausia’s husband. Both waited for over three hours anticipating the end of the strike.

“We had suspended all the routine activities as it was not possible to run these medical services without the residents. However,emergency cases were treated at the hospital including deliveries by 250 senior doctors,” said Dr Sanjay Oak,dean,KEM Hospital.

According to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) the incident took place on Monday when relatives of Balkrishna Vasudev (70) and Haribhau Jhamble (54) were told by the postmortem department that their bodies could be claimed only the following morning.

“Within half an hour of admission Vasudev died. According to the rules any dead body needs to be kept in the cold storage for at least two hours before it is handed over to the relatives. Since the patient died within half an hour of admission it is a medico-legal case and without the papers of the patient’s medical history the body could not be handed over,” said Dr Oak.

However,an angry mob stormed the post mortem room where two doctors Dr Sunil Kumar and Dr Sudhir Jadhav were present. Both the doctors were manhandled. “We were at the post mortem center to collect data. We were not even related to this case,” said Dr Sunil Kumar who sustained head injuries and fractures on his right hand.

“Despite this both the doctors were beaten up with plastic chairs and their stethoscope,” said Dr Anil Duthbhate,president of MARD who was also hit by the relatives later.

The mob then proceeded to the casualty ward where the two doctors were taken for first aid. “The mob came with an intention to beat other doctors. Despite the presence of security personnel and policemen three other doctors were beaten,” said Dr Abhishek Patil,one of the resident doctors.  

Police Inspector Rajendra Ubale from the Bhoiwada police station said,“There are policemen posted at the hospital but their duties are to take down complaints and maintain records of accident cases or other such cases at the hospital. If any kind of violent incident takes place the hospital authorities have their own security to handle such situations.”

Additional Municipal Commissioner Kishor Gajbhiye said that the incident occurred due to lapses on part of the BMC security guards. “Certain guards did not stop the agitators and this worsened the situation,” he said. A recommendation has been made to suspend four security guards and decision on the same will be taken soon. There are around 39 guards on duty at KEM Hospital and 15 more guards will soon be posted.

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