In an unusual protest, over 200 resident doctors visited Sion hospital’s psychiatric department on Wednesday, requesting consultation on “coping with fear psychosis while working in a government hospital”. The latest agitation comes two days after a first-year resident doctor was assaulted in the medicine ward of the hospital, following the death of a patient.
On August 12, Dr Pravin Shilkande from the medicine department was called to check on a senior citizen suffering from long-term kidney disease. “He resuscitated the patient and handed him over to the doctor in charge. Just when he was leaving, the patient passed away.
Following this, the relatives of the patient hit him,” said Dr Krishnapriya Manohar, a resident doctor attached with the psychiatry department. Soon, a mob of over 20 people arrived at the hospital. While Shilkande fled, other doctors filed a complaint with the police on his behalf.
Manohar said that all resident doctors from the medicine unit refused to work following the incident. “The hospital authorities did not support our complaint. There was no security guard in the ward when the doctor was attacked. How can 20 relatives enter a ward when only two relatives per patient are allowed?” he asked.
On Wednesday, the psychiatry department counselled the resident doctors who claimed they feared working in a hostile environment. “They are scared of possible attacks by mobs if a patient is critical and may not survive. If there are no guards, the feeling of insecurity increases,” said Dr Pawan Gadgile, psychiatrist and resident doctor, who counselled a few students.
The head of the psychiatry department, Dr Nilesh Shah, also counselled many. Dr Prashant Chaudhari, president of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, said this time, the doctors decided to not go on a strike and adopted another method to agitate.
By afternoon, the hospital dean met the protesters and set up a committee of five resident doctors and senior professors each to prepare a standard operating protocol in such situations. “This will ensure that a doctor does not have to visit a police station himself to register a complaint,” Chaudhari said.
The protest comes days after resident doctors staged a one-day strike across Maharashtra demanding leaves for maternity and tuberculosis treatment, along with timely payment of wages.