A total of 122 junior doctors of NRS Medical College and Hospital went on mass leave for a picnic on Sunday. With almost half of its 250 junior doctors absent without warning,the hospital struggled to cope with the rush of patients.
NRS medical superintendent Saswati Ghoshal tried to downplay the incident,saying that the interns were students as they were yet to receive their registration numbers and were allowed to take leave,hence there was no question of seeking permission.
However,Director of Medical Education Dr Susanta Banerjee said: We have sought an explanation from the hospital authorities regarding the mass leave and we will inquire into the matter.
Senior health officials said that intern students are supposed to inform their respective heads while taking leave and it is the departmental heads discretion to allow him/her the leave. After completing one year of internship,the interns get their registration numbers but even so,hospital interns generally should take permission from their respective heads of department before they take leave.
The sudden absence of so many junior doctors badly affected patient services at NRS hospital. Considering the huge number of patients,there is a shortage of doctors and so junior doctors or interns serve as essential support for the senior doctors. Most of the 122 junior doctors joined work at noon today,as a result of which around 100 patients were referred to other hospitals.
The interns left for Tajpur in East Midnapore late on Saturday evening on three Volvo buses and returned on Monday morning. Tajpur is a stretch of virgin coastline along the Bay of Bengal located 190 km from Kolkata. There they got involved in a brawl with some camerapersons on Sunday. They allegedly beat up one cameraperson and took his equipment. A complaint was lodged against the junior doctors with Ramnagarpolice station in East Midnapore.
Hospital sources said that some pharmaceutical firms had sponsored the trip to Tajpur and hosted lunch and dinner for the junior doctors there,which,as per guidelines of the Medical Council of India,is illegal.
When contacted,the junior doctors refused comment. One of them said they would speak with the hospital authorities first.