PATNA: A State wide boycott by junior doctors in Bihar ended on Thursday evening. However, the number of patients who died at the State’s largest government-run hospital, allegedly due to lack of medical attention, rose to 20.
While 12 patients admitted at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) — Bihar’s largest super-specialty hospital run by the State government—had lost their lives on Wednesday, when the junior doctors’ strike began, eight more patients died on Thursday, sources said.
PMCH principal, Dr SN Sinha admitted that healthcare services at the premier hospital were “severely affected,” but he denied the deaths of 20 patients were caused primarily due to the absence of junior doctors. “I do not have any such information yet,” he said.
With few doctors present to attend to thousands of patients in emergency and OPD facilities, hundreds of patients were seen leaving PMCH for private nursing homes on Wednesday and Thursday.
The junior doctors, who were aggrieved over the lathi-charging by police in Patna on Monday, ended their strike after top officials of the State health department held talks with their representatives. They said they would return to work on Thursday midnight. As many as 450 junior doctors were on strike since Wednesday morning.
Principal Secretary of health department, RK Mahajan, and PMCH principal had held talks with the representatives of the Bihar Junior Doctors Association (BJDA).
Five junior doctors who were sent to jail following the lathi-charge at IAS Bhawan were released on bail on Thursday and assurances were offered by the government that BJDA’s demands would be sympathetically considered.
“We had called for a daylong strike on Wednesday, but since the government remained adamant, we decided to maintain an indefinite strike. We finally ended the strike after assurances from the health secretary,” said Dr Vinay Kumar, president of the PMCH wing of BJDA.