Shakuntala Devi has been writhing in pain on the floor of the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) Emergency Ward, with none to attend to her and alleviate her suffering, following a flash strike by the hospital’s junior doctors.
Suffering more than 50 per cent burns, she was denied a bed in the Special Burns Ward due to the ongoing strike by the junior doctors demanding action against policemen who lathi-charged them a few days ago.
Similar is the case of Raju Kumar, who was turned away from the hospital without treatment though he had serious head injuries. While lying in the hospital, Kumar slid in and out of consciousness frequently.
The hapless relatives of both Shakuntala and Raju rued that no one attended to the two patients despite their repeated requests to the doctors.
Their stories of pain and suffering sums up the condition of hundreds of other patients who have been left in the lurch by doctors at the hospital.
A near-panic situation prevails among the kin of patients, particularly those lying unattended in serious condition in the Emergency Ward, or the ones operated upon in different wards, in the wake of the strike, a PMCH official said.
“We are the real victims of the strike because there is no doctor to attend to our patients,” rued Mahesh Kushwaha of Vaishali district, who arrived at the hospital two days ago for his wife’s treatment.
“Brokers and other go-betweens in healthcare services have become active and are taking advantage of the tricky situation we are in,” a relative of a patient griped.
“They are luring families of critical patients to shift them to private hospitals and nursing homes.”
The death toll due to the strike by over 500 doctors — that began on Wednesday — has since gone up to 15 as eight more patients died since Wednesday night due to alleged lack of treatment in the state capital’s hospital.
Services at the Emergency Ward and Out Patient Department have been badly hit by the strike, a hospital official said.
The official said that in the absence of treatment at the PMCH, most patients were forced to shift to private nursing homes. “However, those who can’t afford private treatment are the ones left in the lurch,” the official added.
PMCH Superintendent Lakhinder Prasad maintained that senior doctors were treating patients in the Emergency Ward of the PMCH, the largest healthcare centre in Bihar that attracts patients mainly from the state’s rural areas.