A 24-year-old died on Thursday at a private hospital in Dharwad district of Karnataka allegedly due to delay in getting a treatment owing to the ongoing strike of the doctors in the state, news agency ANI reported. Protesting against amendments in the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007, the doctors shut down their clinics and outpatient services in private hospitals. The amendments to the Act are aimed at making the hospitals accountable for medical negligence.
The changes proposed include six months to three years of jail term and a hefty penalty for medical negligence on the part of medical practitioners, which the protesting doctors termed as ‘draconian’ in nature. The proposed amendments based on recommendations of former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen, also arm the government with powers to monitor the cost of treatment.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has called the state Health Minister Ramesh Kumar for a meeting to discuss the ongoing strike. He will also be meeting doctors’ association members on Friday.
With more than 22,000 doctors joining the protests from Bengaluru alone, the strike has reportedly caused several deaths across Karnataka as the patients remain unattended to. The demonstration comes on the backdrop of a similar protest on November 3, when at least 50,000 doctors from across Karnataka had ‘abstained from duties’ for 24 hours.
There is a sudden rush at the government-run hospitals, including Victoria Hospital, KC General Hospital and Bowring Hospital, the three prominent hospitals of Bengaluru.
In other reports of casualties, students of a school at Ramanagar, who were injured in an accidental collision between their van and a government bus, had to reportedly go through difficulties as a private hospital puportedly refused treatment and referred them to Bengaluru, news agency PTI quoted the police as saying. Two children were killed and seven others injured in the accident, they said.
In Jamakhandi Taluk in Bagalkote district, a seriously ill woman was taken to a private hospital, but allegedly there was none to attend her. She was rushed to government hospital, but died on the way, her family alleged.
The strike had led to the crippling of medical services causing furore in the Karnataka Assembly on Thursday. The government said it was ready to talk to agitating doctors and would try to find solution to the issue.
According to PTI, Health Minister Ramesh Kumar said it was not a prestige issue for him. It is doctors who have made it a prestige issue, as they have called for a state wide agitation, when the ‘Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ is yet to be tabled, he said.
“We will try to find a solution soon, we are open for discussion with doctors,” the minister added.
The opposition BJP which was unhappy with the minister’s response, staged a walk out of the House demanding immediate resolution. Taking into account the aggravated situation in the state, BJP members said any delay in the matter may cause more deaths of patients.
With PTI inputs