In a letter issued late on Thursday, the Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) appealed resident doctors to resume their duty, after the Bombay High Court took cognizance of the hardships they face and directed authorities to resolve their issues within a fortnight. However, resident doctors in Pune are yet to take any decision and are still on mass casual leave, said Dr Somnath Salgar, spokesperson of the B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital.
Earlier in the day, patients faced a harrowing time at the state’s largest government hospital, as resident doctors continued with the mass casual leave for the fourth day, to protest the recent spate of attacks against doctors. Dr M Tambe, acting dean, said 25 major operations were performed despite the absence of resident doctors, with additional staff being called in from the Directorate of Health Services. But medical services remained partially crippled, as the hospitals saw long queues and family members helping patients to their wards after being treated at the operation theatre.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association’s call for shutting down services in the outpatient department received a good response from several hospitals in the city. Dr K H Sancheti, managing trustee and founder of Sancheti hospital, said in response to the IMA’s call, they took an unanimous decision to shut OPD services. According to trauma surgeon Dr Chetan Pradhan, only emergency services were provided and patients were urged not to travel all the way to Sancheti hospital for a check-up at the OPD.
While Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic and Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, said doctors wore black badges as a mark of protest, these hospitals continued OPD services. At Jehangir Hospital, medical administrator Dr Sujata Malik said several doctors decided not to see patients at the OPD. Dr Umesh Vaidya, senior paediatrician at Cloud Nine Hospital, said OPD services were shut. Dr Mohan Joshi, president of the Indian Medical Association’s Pune unit, said doctors from 40 associations have come together to set up a Doctors Security Federation.
Their demands include concrete steps to prevent assault on doctors and paramedical staff, the effective implementation of the Doctors Protection Act 2010, and revoking the suspension orders served on residents. Members of the Doctors Security Federation also visited B J M C to support the resident doctors.