Medical Colleges across the state asked all senior doctors, from professors to lecturers, to be on duty as more than 4,500 resident doctors in the state went on mass leave from 8 am to 5 pm in government hospitals on Friday. They were protesting the brutal assault on a Kolkata doctor by relatives of a patient.
However, protesting doctors were available for emergency procedures. With fewer doctors, Nair hospital conducted 20 surgeries and KEM hospital conducted 80 surgeries. Dr R N Bharmal, dean of Nair hospital, said the hospital attended to 907 patients in out-patient department.
Marking World Blood Donor Day by donating blood to stock up blood banks, at least 72 resident doctors from Sion hospital said they opted for the “Gandhian method” of protest.
“We wanted to make our protest meaningful. While relatives of patients continue to assault doctors, we are donating blood and performing our duty of saving lives,” said Dr Prashant Chaudhari, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) at Sion hospital.
Chaudhari added that demands to improve security had remained a major dialogue between medical students and hospital administration for the past three years.
In 2017, following a case of assault on an orthopaedic doctor in Dhule civil hospital, the state government had strengthened security across all government hospitals. But the demand for CCTV cameras in all wards is still pending.
On June 10, Dr Paribaha Mukherjee was assaulted by relatives of a patient in NRS Medical College, Kolkata, leading to critical injuries. On Friday, apart from resident doctors, the Indian Medical Association also joined the protest across India, bringing in even private practitioners.
With the sloga‘ ‘Save the saviours’, resident doctors at KEM hospital wore black and bandaged their heads, symbolic of frequent attacks they suffered at the hands of patients’ relatives. A group of them even staged a skit.
Outside BYL Nair hospital, resident doctors held a silent march, with some wearing helmets to show the lack of security for doctors at hospitals.
“All resident doctors and interns are part of this protest. We need a secure environment so that this is not repeated in future,” said resident doctor Shubangi.