Mumbai hospital medics strike work after assault

February 10th, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) Medical services at the KEM Hospital, one of Asia’s largest public hospitals, were hit as medicos went on a flash strike after four doctors were assaulted by irate relatives of a patient who died here Tuesday morning, an official said.

The relatives of the deceased accused the hospital of “negligence” and “improper treatment” and attacked four medicos in the hospital around 6.30 a.m. Tuesday, a hospital official told IANS.

A group of at least 20 people, claiming to be relatives of the dead patient, attacked the medicos injuring them severely. The police later arrested at least four people in connection with the assault, the official said.

Following the assault, medicos across all the departments in the 1,800-bed hospital went on strike and have refused to budge until action is taken against the attackers.

Several hundreds of patients - both in the regular and emergency departments - suffered as admissions were suddenly stopped even as the authorities attempted to hammer out a solution.

The hospital admits around 250 new patients daily, and has an average 5,000 patients in the outpatient departments every day.

A senior citizen, Mangaldas Oza, scheduled for admission Tuesday ahead of a heart surgery to remove five blockages next week, was compelled to return home after a three-hour wait as the deadlock continued. “What do I do? I am a diabetic too, so movement is difficult,” Oza told IANS at the hospital gate.

The hospital authorities and medicos’ representatives were engaged in talks to resolve the crisis. Additional Municipal Commissioner K. Gajabhiye and health and civic officials were present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the hospital was making arrangements to shift patients requiring critical health care to other government and civic hospitals in the city even as the police have beefed security within and outside the hospital.

In the past one year, there have been at least four similar attacks on medicos by relatives of patients at government hospitals, including the KEM Hospital, and other private hospitals.

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