Published On : Fri, Mar 24th, 2017

IMA and MARD withdraw strike but many Residents still not confident about resuming work

GMCH resident doctors stage protest
The scene of the Residents and practising Doctors who went on strike some days ago is rather confusing as of now. (Difference between the two is ‘Residents’ are those who have obtained M.B.B.S. but are still working towards their M.D. and are registered for the same with Govt. hospitals where they are on a stipend/ salary. Once they get an M.D. in about 3-4 years and finish their Residency they can become members of IMA – Indian Medical Association). Some Doctors opine privately that the Pandora’s box has been opened by Maharashtra Doctors, which will not shut easily.

That is because Residents and Medical Practitioners of other states are also suffering from the same problems that our state Doctors are. States like Tamilnadu, Kerala, Rajasthan etc. have also seen cases of violence against Doctors and they may now follow Maharashtra’s example and go on united strikes too.

Resident Doctors of Maharashtra have gone on flash strikes multiple times, which happen almost after every incidence of violence against one of them , but it is the first time ever that IMA has been united in supporting them and keeping private hospitals and Nursing homes closed too which made the Govt. sit up and take notice and may have even caused the Honourable Judge of the Mumbai High Court to change her stand.

After admonishing Residents harshly one day and telling them “you are not workers” the Judge then on a subsequent hearing on another day went on to lecture the state about providing adequate security in hospitals and give this undertaking in writing.

It is learnt that the C.M. had a meeting with IMA and MARD representatives in Mumbai today after which it was agreed in principle that strike was being called off.

While the private practitioners wasted no time and got back to work today afternoon/ evening itself, it is learnt that some Residents are still not in a mood to relent despite their lawyer advising them to do so.

They point out that such ‘assurances’ about providing security have been made many times by previous governments too but once the strike is withdrawn there is status quo.

So this time they are insisting that security must be deployed first and should be visible in all Govt.hospitals and only then they will return to work.

This demand gains legitimacy because there are reports that private hospitals were vandalized during the strike period also and a lady doctor was beaten up in Mumbai by irate relatives of patients.

Patients and their relatives are indeed the worst sufferers and some critically sick patients may have lost their lives too without receiving medical treatment. (Though most private hospitals said they were treating emergency patients even during the strike period).

The Residents are appealing to patients’ relatives too to not remain silent spectators when they see one of them being manhandled by some miscreants.

One whats app message doing the rounds says :

“We know only 10% of people tend to resort to violence against us. But we blame the 90% who remain silent and do not condemn this or come to our aid either.”

Nexus between patients-politicians- and sections of media working against Doctors?

Some senior Doctors in private practise in the city shared their experiences with NT which seem to show that there is a nexus between people-politicians and some media.

When terminally ill patients are admitted on their relatives’ insistence in that mood they agree to spend ” as much money as necessary to help the patient.” Doctors who are in no mood to admit such cases are emotionally blackmailed into admitting them.

But once expenses start mounting the relatives begin having second thoughts and often leave the patient in the hospital and disappear on the pretext of “bringing money from the home town”. The patient passes away unattended by his close relatives who then turn up with a gang of political ‘activists’ who begin vandalizing the hospital and making allegations against the hospital that the dead patient’s body is not being released.

By then the hospital’s pending bills may have mounted to tens of thousands or even a lakh or above.

The political presence ensures that hospital does not demand its unpaid bills.

Often at this stage, some press people also get into the act and begin calling the Doctor asking if he is “holding on to a patient’s body and ‘harassing’ his relatives for money.”

At this rate it seems that the day is not far when like China gangs are formed who begin demanding money from the Doctor only!

Till all these issues are not faced and resolved any peace might be short lived.