Junior doctors slog for up to 60 hours at a stretch! - The New Indian Express

Junior doctors slog for up to 60 hours at a stretch!

Published: 13th November 2013 11:30 AM

Last Updated: 13th November 2013 12:39 PM

Consider working day and night at a stretch for a minimum of 36 hours and, sometimes even up to 60 hours.

These are junior doctors or house surgeons who are overburdened with work at most of the government hospitals due to shortage of staff. But rubbing salt into the would is the lackadaisical attitude of the regular nursing staff at these hospitals who shy away from their duties, especially night duties.

The case in point is city’s Gandhi Medical College and Hospital which accommodates about a hundred house surgeons and around 200 transfer interns (those junior doctors who graduate from other states or even countries who serve without stipend at government hospitals).

“We are forced to do what nurses on night duty are supposed to do. They either sleep through the night or just do not bother. One house surgeon at once has to treat over 80 patients at night including administering regular injections and fluids etc,” said a house surgeon on condition of anonymity.

Worried about the consequences of raising their voice, he said, “We will be just targeted personally and our lives will be made miserable.”

When contacted, hospital superintendent Dr M Chandrasekhar denied any such happenings. “It is not true. If any such thing comes to my notice, I will definitely take stern action,” he assured.

Director of health and medical education Dr Shanta Rao agrees. “I do not think it is true. I have never come across any such thing,” he said and assured to inquire into the matter.

A house surgeon, who is supposed to complete a year of internship, has to work in various departments _ General Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Community Medicine _ for two months each, apart from a month in the Orthopaedics department.

He/she is also supposed to work in the Casualty, Ophthalmology, ENT and one optional course (Forensic science, Dermatology, Radiology or Blood Bank) for 15 days each.

But it is an open secret that the schedule that requires a junior doctor to work for 36 hours to 60 hours at a stretch.

In the general medicine department, there will be two nurses each in the MECO, Intensive Medical Care (IMC) and Acute Medical Care (AMC) units on night duty and with six units of junior doctors.

“For duty at IMC, one from each unit, apart from the one assigned duty at AMC, has also to attend IMC every day. And five junior doctors should take care of the IMC ward and also the patients in the corresponding general wards, both male and female, who number about 80 on any day,” a house surgeon said. Worse, the duties of a nurse including administration of injections and fluids are also given to junior doctors.

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