DOCTORS OF Provincial Medical and Health Services (PMHS) in Farrukhabad on Thursday came to work sporting black bands, in protest against the police lodging an FIR against the district chief medical officer (CMO) and the chief medical superintendent (CMS) of Ram Manohar Lohia (Female) Hospital, where 49 children had died within a month allegedly due to oxygen deprivation.
Maintaining that they will wear black bands to work for the next 15 days, the doctors demanded the withdrawal of the FIR and an assurance that future probes into alleged negligence of doctors would be conducted by a technical team. They also wanted the transfer orders of the CMO and CMS to be revoked. The deaths had come to light recently after the city magistrate, in his preliminary inquiry, blamed shortage of oxygen for the deaths. Based on the report, an FIR was lodged against the doctors, accusing them of negligence. While state government had transferred the district magistrate, the CMO and the CMS, it had rejected the report of the city magistrate and denied that oxygen shortage had led to the deaths.
Soon after the lodging of the FIR, PMHS doctors in Farrukhabad had announced that they would go on a strike, but had withdrawn the decision after the government assured them that a detailed probe will be conducted by a technical team. “We have decided to postpone other forms of protest, which might affect patient care at hospitals. But doctors across the district have decided to wear black ribbons to work to press our demand of withdrawal of FIR against the doctors, especially when the government has also rejected the report of the city magistrate. We also demand assurance that in future, any inquiry into alleged cases of negligence will be conducted by a technical team,” said Ajai Kumar, general secretary of PMHS association in Farrukhabad.
“Today, we attended patients in the OPD, wearing black ribbons. Due to shortage of doctors, we are already under pressure… then, a team of administrative officers, without any technical medical expertise, gave a ruling about the deaths. We will continue to wear black bands for the next 15 days to work to remind the government about our demands,” he added.
Kumar said the state unit of the association had met Principal Secretary (Medical and Health) Prashant Trivedi a day before. “We will give the government 15 days to complete its inquiry… if nothing happens, the doctors are ready to offer mass resignation.”
Ashutosh Dubey, vice-president of Farrukhabad PMHS, said: “We had met the principal secretary… he assured that the inquiry will be conducted by a team, which will include technical members… not only in this case but in future as well.” Asked if the state unit will also launch a protest, he said: “As of now, the protest is taking place only at the district level.”