Medical institute doctors go on strike in Punjab

October 20th, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 20 (IANS) The brawl between a senior resident doctor and an assistant professor of the department of urology in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here took an ugly turn Monday with over 800 resident doctors going on an indefinite strike.Much to the agony of people, the services in the Out Patient Department (OPD) remained crippled. Many patients who required immediate attention bore a worried look as no doctors were available to address them.

“I have come all the way from Sangrur town in Punjab to get my daughter treated upon who has been running a high fever. But to my dismay, the doctors have gone on strike. I told them she urgently requires treatment but they are not concerned about her,” told an aggrieved Lakhan Ram.

The absence of doctors paralysed normal functioning of the OPD at the institute. Most of the scheduled surgeries were cancelled as majority of the senior residents observed strike.

The agitating doctors demanded an immediate suspension of Santosh Kumar, the assistant professor who allegedly physically assaulted and hurled abuses at Sanand Kumar, the senior resident doctor Wednesday. Sanand has demanded a public apology from Santosh.

The scuffle took place on the issue of a case list in Operation Theatre (OT), which is prepared by Sanand in the department of urology. On seeing his patient’s number at the last spot, Santosh lost his temper and smacked Sanand in front of the OT staff and other technicians.

This episode roused tension in the OT that delayed other operations by over an hour.

The matter was immediately reported to the director of PGIMER and to the head of the department of urology.

“I am thinking of leaving this institution as I am feeling very bad for the last few days. Five days have passed and the authorities have not taken any considerable action. They have not sent the inquiry report to the centre and have not even disclosed it to us,” a visibly disturbed Sanand Kumar told IANS.

He said: “Santosh just handed over to me an apology letter Monday morning in a closed room with only few doctors present there. This act has hurt my self-respect and I want a public apology from him as it will be in the betterment of the doctors’ fraternity and will set an example for future”.

The senior residents at the PGIMER had also gone on one-day mass casual leave Saturday following the controversy.

“We resumed our work Sunday as we were hoping that something concrete will work out. But the authorities here are adamant and have failed to provide any substantial solution for the problem. We will intensify our protest and decide the further course of action very soon,” president of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) Prabhu Shanker told IANS.

“Santosh Kumar has been involved in countless notorious activities in the last many years. Six complaints have been filed against him in the last four years. In fact, the head of the department is also very lenient towards him,” told a well-placed source at PGIMER and a member of ARD on the assurance of anonymity.

The PGIMER, one of the leading and well-equipped hospital and medical colleges of North India, came into existence in 1962.

“This strike is totally unethical as the doctors here have no right to harass the patients. Our inquiry has been completed and very soon we will take appropriate action,” said a senior official of PGIMER.

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