Doctors and students go on a strike at SMHS Hospital go on a strike at Government Medical College,Srinagar to protest against assault on a doctor by a policeman

Karnataka private hospitals closed, around fifty thousand doctors on strike to protest new medical bill

Srinagar, June15:Resident doctors and post graduate students working at SMHS Hospital went on a strike at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar here today to register their protest against assault on a doctor by a policeman.

Though out and in-patient departments of the hospital remained affected, the emergency services functioned normally.

 The protests started when resident doctors, postgraduate students and undergraduate students gathered around the administrative block of the medical college. Shouting slogans, the protesters demanded action against an attendant who according to protesting doctors was a police official and had physically assaulted and threatened a doctor on duty at Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) late Tuesday evening. The doctor suffered “serious” injuries necessitating urgent medical attention and observation.

Resident doctors, post graduate students and interns remained off work from out-patient department and wards— affecting functioning of the hospital. However, ICUs, high dependency wards and emergency of the hospital functioned normally.  Undergraduate students of GMC also remained off the classes.

Senior officials from district administration and police visited GMC to take a stock of the incident. Though they assured action into the case, the protests continued.

She expressed concern over the assault on doctors, “especially by police official.” “We have to ensure that our doctors work in a safe and conducive atmosphere. This (assault) could have cost the doctor’s life,” she said.

Resident Doctors Association (RDA) said that the assault on Dr Owais was the fifth such incident taking place in SMHS Hospital in a span of a couple of months. “We do not want assurances. We want deterrence for such offences and security for doctors,” the members of RDA said.

The demands of RDA members also included a high level inquiry into the incident, lodging of an FIR against the accused police official and his suspension till completion of the inquiry.

Doctors threatened of indefinite strike throughout GMC associated hospitals and involving para-medical and other staff also if their demands were not met in 24 hours. “We will be forced to stay off work in all hospitals as our last resort to bring to notice the threats to our life and inaction by authorities,” representatives of the protesting doctors said.

Giving details of the incident, doctors said, that attendant of a woman admitted at MICU manhandled and thrashed the on-duty doctor identified as Dr Owais, a third year PG student of Medicine. They alleged that in spite of the assault case being medico-legal in nature, police was yet to take statement of the doctor who was admitted in Triage, a high dependency ward of hospital. They demanded that “stern action” be taken against the accused.

In hospital Triage, Dr Owais said that around 8 pm on Tuesday, an attendant who according to him identified himself as an Station House Officer and son of the elderly stroke patient undergoing treatment at MICU barged into the restricted zone. “He kept interfering with the treatment protocol of the patient who was being taken for assessment,” he said.

Alleging that the attendant forced entry into MICU and created a ruckus there before manhandling, Dr Owais said, “He seemed hysterical and verbally abused me many times while alleging that his mother was not being treated properly,” Dr Owais said.

“When the interference of the attendant continued, I asked the attendant to leave who, flanked by a few more people thrashed me ruthlessly. They dealt several blows to my abdomen and also kicked me around,” the doctor said.

Dr Owais had developed seizures due to the injury and was being observed.

In December 2015, a similar incident had provoked a weeklong strike in GMC associated hospitals, bringing hospital functioning to a standstill. Routine admissions in SKIMS Soura had to be stopped to accommodate the load from defunct GMC hospitals. A slew of measures had been announced at that time for minimizing doctor-patient conflicts and doctors had been promised that security at the hospitals would be beefed up.

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