Doctors say the two were given full treatment; strike called off later after govt assurance.
At least two persons died at the Sadarjung Hospital on Wednesday when resident doctors struck work for the second time in less than a week,forcing authorities to turn away several patients as they grappled with the shortage of doctors. The strike was called off after representatives of the doctors met Health Ministry officials and returned with assurances on their demands.
Senior doctors at the hospital said the two deaths could not be blamed on the strike since the patients were in critical condition when they were admitted to the hospital. The patients,the doctors claimed,were given every possible treatment.
But relatives of 22-year-old Yasmeen,a resident of Jasola,alleged that there was a three-hour delay in admitting her when they rushed her to the hospital emergency around 7 am. She died in the afternoon. Her brother Shahnawaz said: She complained of pain in the chest,so we rushed her here. We had to wait for over three hours at the hospital emergency. By the time they took her in,it was too late. They kept telling us that there was shortage of doctors,and they may have to refer her elsewhere.
A senior doctor said: The patient was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease where rheumatic fever leads to damage of the heart valves. She had even undergone a mitral valve replacement in 2008,had a thrombosis or a clot and pulmonary oedema or fluid accumulation in the lungs.
The doctor claimed the patient was admitted to the emergency ward at 8 am and died at 2.05 pm though she was under the care of cardiologists. She was a critical patient,and would not have survived in any other hospital as well, the doctor said.
Hospital sources said a 50-year-old woman,admitted to the neurosurgery ward on May 14 with subdural haematoma,also died around 10.30 am. She had a brain injury and in such cases,death may occur soon. We treated her an entire day,so the death cannot be attributed to lapse in treatment or the strike, the doctor said.
Medical Superintendent Dr B D Athani said he had no information about the cases,but insisted that doctors in most superspecialty departments had reported for duty.
Though we have accepted most demands of the resident doctors,the strike was very nominally successful,so most superspecialty departments were functioning as usual. Both consultants and resident doctors in cardiology and neurosurgery were working. Senior doctors said the resident doctors reported for duty over an hour after the formal announcement of the strike being called off.
Several patients at the hospital had to return without treatment,allegedly due to shortage of doctors. At the burns unit,a woman from Pakistan,who was to be admitted on Wednesday for reconstructive surgery on Thursday,said doctors told her family that surgery might have to be delayed.
Sameena Akram,mother of patient Sana,said: The doctors have told us that admitting my daughter today will not be possible,since the surgery may have to be delayed due to the strike. Our visa expires on May 28,so we do not have much time.
After resident doctors held a nearly two-hour meeting with senior officials of the Health Ministry,RDA spokesperson Dr Samir Prabhakar said: We have called off our strike after assurances from the Health Secretary that all our demands have been met. Doctors have been protesting lack of security,accommodation,sanitation and drinking water facilities,and delay in disbursement of salaries.