Published: 12th June 2019
Doctors, patients demand Mamata Banerjee's intervention as OPDs stay shut across Bengal
Students from RG Kar Medical College, R Ahmed Dental College, SSKM Hospital, Calcutta Medical College and other institutions across Kolkata have joined the protest
Out Patient Departments across medical colleges and hospitals remained shut in West Bengal on June 12 as junior doctors across the state continued their strike in protest against violence on doctors. The protest started after an intern at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital was critically injured in a scuffle that broke out between a patient's kin and the junior doctors. The protesting doctors demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visit the campus and speak to them. But the firebrand leader, known for her tactics to pacify, did not show up.
Students from RG Kar Medical College, R Ahmed Dental College, SSKM Hospital, Calcutta Medical College and other institutions across Kolkata have joined the protest. "There are more than 500 students at NRS protesting at this very point. Institutions like the Presidency and Jadavpur University will also be joining the protest," said a student at the sit-in. Similar scenes of cease-work were witnessed in districts such as Bankura, Birbhum and Coochbehar.
Ironically, family members of patients who were protesting against the shutdown of the OPD outside SSKM Hospital also had similar demands of meeting the CM. "We are trying to attract the Chief Minister's attention as most of the patients have come from far off places. We want the OPD services to resume so that the general public does not suffer," said a protesting family member.
The government, after failed attempts to appease the protestors, have now issued a circular directing them to resume work at the hospitals.
Earlier, a member of the Doctors' Forum proposed to cease work at the outpatient departments (OPDs) of all state-run hospitals in West Bengal on Wednesday. "Usually when such an incident occurs, the security and administration people are untraceable. It is us (junior doctors) who are beaten up or manhandled," one of the protesting doctors at NRS Hospital said.
Disturbances erupted at the state-run NRS Hospital on Tuesday morning bringing the regular services to a standstill, after a junior doctor was allegedly beaten up by the kin of a 75-year-old patient who died there late on Monday night. The family members of the deceased patient alleged medical negligence. The intern named Paribaha Mukherjee sustained serious a skull injury in the attack and has been admitted in the intensive care unit of the Institute of Neurosciences in Kolkata's Park Circus area. His condition is reportedly stable.
Consequently, junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the OPD and started a 'dharna' to protest against the attack.
The students who are protesting have a single agenda — they want the Health Department to provide better security for the junior doctors. The students have spoken to the State's Health Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya who did not provide any assurance to increase security in any way. The students also claimed that the college authorities are in their support along with medical students and interns across the state. "I support this protest because it's the only way for a doctor to survive in any government hospital in India. There is the least security that should be provided for the doctors on duty. Our lives are at stake every minute we're on duty," said Dr Kashif Ahmed, an intern at a state medical college. The students say that they will not budge from their protest at any cost unless their demands are met.