(Reported by Shriya Dasgupta)
It was the 16th chemo session for 60-year-old Jhinuk Mondol, who had come all the way from Arambagh with her son to NRS Hospital and College on Tuesday morning. Diagnosed with leukaemia, she is a regular OPD patient at the hospital. “We have been standing here since the morning. They are not letting us enter,” said Jhinuk.
A few metres away, near the locked gates of the hospital, stood Pratima Banerjee with her six-year-old daughter. “We boarded the train early morning from Murshidabad and so, we did not get time to check the news. My daughter suffers from thalassemia. We had an appointment with the doctor today but couldn’t enter the hospital premises. We’ll have to go back now and come again tomorrow,” said Pratima.
Thousands of people like Jhinuk and Pratima, who stood outside the hospital gate, occasionally trying to enter forcefully, had to give up their hope and return, as the protesting doctors refused to open the gate.
Junior doctors of NRS Medical College and Hospital called for a strike on Tuesday and had shut down the OPD to protest against the alleged assault on two junior doctors after the death of a patient. The deceased’s relatives, on the other hand, have accused te hospital of negligence.
While most of the patients who came from distant places for treatment at the premier government hospital seemed to have no idea about the reason behind the strike. However, they all shared the same opinion that the common people should not suffer because of other people’s mistakes.
“My husband had to be admitted to the hospital because he had a kidney problem. He was supposed to be released today, but the procedures could not be completed due to the doctors’ protest. Now his release got delayed,” said Aparna Das.
The wait was harder for Ranaghat resident, Subarna Mistri, whose 19-year-old son was undergoing treatment for snakebite in the hospital. “I’ve been waiting all day to catch a glimpse of my son, but have failed to enter the hospital,” she said.