LUCKNOW/KANPUR/ VARANASI/ALLAHABAD: Eight more patientsdied in medical colleges across UP in the past 24 hours as residents of super-specialty medical institution like Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences joined the junior doctors’ strike which entered its fourth day on Tuesday.
At least 30 patients have reportedly died in various medical colleges in the past four days due to the absence of medical care. Five patients reportedly died in Kanpur in the past 24 hours while two deaths were reported from King George’s Medical University, Lucknow. Over 50,000 patients suffered due to closure of OPD and emergency services on Tuesday.
Junior doctors in state medical colleges are on strike against alleged police atrocity on their counterparts in GSVM Medical College, Kanpur. Faculty members of some colleges have joined the strike, too. In Kanpur alone, more than 8,000 patients were affected due to non-availability of medical services. There was no end to the deadlock as talks between striking doctors at GSVM College and district administration remained inconclusive. This affected medical services in government hospitals, especially Lala Lajpat Rai (LLR) Hospital.
The trouble started on Friday night after a clash between supporters of SP MLA Irfan Solanki and junior doctors GSV Medical College, Kanpur, over a petty dispute and subsequent cane-charge by the police. Over two dozen junior doctors were also booked but later released on bail. Though chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has assured to probe the matter, striking junior doctors are demanding withdrawal of cases against those arrested and action against Kanpur police chief and and SP MLA.
Two patients died while over 10,000 were affected at King George’s Medical University of Lucknow on Tuesday. One of them was identified as Rekha Kumar (35) of Sitapur, who was undergoing treatment in the general surgery department while the other was Raisa Bano of Kunda in Pratapgarh, who had suffered a stroke and was being treated by neurologists. Scores of patients were denied treatment. For example, with a tumor in his stomach, a frail 70-year-old Shafiq is waiting for the last two days to be seen by doctors in the oncology department. He doesn’t even have enough money to go back to his native place in Bareilly.
More than 50 surgeries were cancelled while more than 2,000 patients admitted in different wards headed to other centers on Tuesday. The crisis aggravated as the faculty members joined the junior doctors and boycotted work while university’s contingency plan failed to take off. A deserted Trauma Centre, which has a bed occupancy of over 100% on a normal day, explains the state of affairs. Doctors’ association at KGMU reasoned its stand stating, “it’s not only about junior doctors, senior faculty members were brazenly bashed up by the police.”
In Agra, as many as 250 junior doctors at SN Medical College tendered a joint resignation from their courses to mount pressure on the state government. “We are doctors but the police treated us like criminals. We do not deserve such treatment. Besides, causing inconvenience to the patients, government inaction has ended up in shielding the real wrong doers,” said one of the junior doctors. Doctors in Jhansi and Gorakhpur medical colleges also voiced similar sentiments.
In Varanasi, more than 8,000 patients and attendants were affected because of the strike. The patients deserted wards at Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Sir Sundar Lal (SSL) Hospital. Pathology services were also affected as the junior doctors forcibly closed the labs. Patients admitted in special and general wards took refuge in private hospitals. Under the aegis of IMA’s Varanasi chapter, private doctors took out a candle march to garner sympathy for their victim brethren in Kanpur. With doctors striking in the medical centers, the burden on government hospitals, including SPG Divisional Hospital and DDU district hospital increased significantly.
Private doctors and nursing homes also joined the junior doctors in Allahabad. Senior faculty members in the Moti Lal Nehru Medical College also refrained from work. Admission of new patients was severely affected while a patient suffering with about 90% burn injures succumbed as the doctors ignored him in wake of the protest. Interestingly, striking doctors pledged not to support Samajwadi Party candidates in the coming general elections besides discouraging a minimum of 100 voters to choose SP candidates. The striking doctors have decided that “all of them will be lighting earthen lamps and pray to almighty for giving wisdom to the CM”.
Meanwhile, political parties tried to make most of the opportunity. RLD leader Munna Singh Chauhan urged the UP government to shun its adamant attitude in public interest and resolve the crisis at the earliest. Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi demanded that the inquiry in the case should be conducted by a retired high court judge. She also condemned the highhandedness of police in this case. Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal on the other hand saw a political conspiracy behind the doctor’s strike. Accusing the opposition for extracting political benefits out of the crisis situation, he appealed the doctors to call off strike. “I think that there is some political conspiracy behind the strike because of the election season as opposition parties is making full utilisation of the situation,” said Agarwal.