No dissemination of information from PGI to the public about the curtailment of OPD timing in view of the four-hour sit-in by hundreds of resident doctors to press their demands over the death of a resident in a hit-and-run accident led to inconvenience to the visiting patients on Friday. The hospital registered around 4,000 patients against 9,000 patients registered on normal days.
At the new OPD block where the patients had reached early in the morning from different states, the absence of information led to chaos and confusion after the registrations were stopped around 9 am. The receptionists and the security personnel were also caught unawares.
“We had no prior information that there is a strike,” said Sher Singh, a resident of Punjab, who had come for his daughter’s examination. “I reached here at 9.45 am and they [receptionist] didn’t issue the registration card. The security guard told me that doctors are not available today.”
Twenty-six-year-old junior resident doctor Dhanshree Sharma, a resident of Rajasthan, had died in a road accident after she was hit by an unknown car at Naraingarh in Ambala district on Tuesday morning. She was on her way to the hospital at Naraingarh where she was posted. The resident doctors said they were upset due to the absence of a “structural protocol” for the doctors at the health hub.
Another patient from Hoshiarpur in Punjab said he had been waiting in a queue since 7.30 am. “There should have been some alternative. I left our village at 4 am and the effort went all in vain,” said Dilbagh Singh. “After waiting in a queue for two hours, I was asked to go back home.”
A statement issued by the institute’s public relations officer said the decision to reduce the OPD registration timings was taken after the residents went on a half-day “protest/strike”. On Thursday, the PGI didn’t issue any release that the OPD timings would be curtailed on Friday.
The statement said that the OPD registration timings of some of the departments and clinics remained unchanged and patients were registered until 11 am as usual. “Patients requiring urgent medical attention were also registered beyond registration timings. Faculty members of institute were present in the OPD from early morning to see the patients and extra faculty members were deployed in OPD at departmental level,” the statement said, adding that “3,944 patients were registered, out of whom 1,170 patients were new and 2,774 patients were revisiting”.
The statement further stated that 14 operations were performed in emergency and trauma OTs until 3 pm. “Main operation theatre was run by faculty with the help of nursing and other support staff. A total of 13 operations were performed in the main OT,” said the statement.
ON Friday morning, more than 500 residents doctors gathered outside the administration block wearing black ribbons to lodge their protest. The residents were on duty in the emergency and critical areas of the institute. The deadlock over the demands between the Association of Resident Doctors and PGI, which continued till afternoon, ended around 1 pm after the PGI administration agreed to their demands.
Dr Seran Kumar Reddy, president, Association of Resident Doctors, PGI, told Chandigarh Newsline that the administration agreed that there were “lapses” from their side.
“They [administration] have agreed that if such incident occurs in future, they would give their own transport or if need arises, the body will be airlifted to the hometown of the resident,” he said. “A compensation fund too has been proposed for the resident doctors which the administration said will be discussed in the general body meeting of the institute.”
The ARD president said that during the series of meetings with the administration, the ARD proposed “either to scrap the faraway postings or provide a daily bus service to the resident doctors to those places where the residents are posted”. He added that the PGI administration had decided to allot a sickroom for the residents at the hospital.