PATNA: At least 16 patients died on Friday allegedly due to lack of medical attention at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), Bihar’s largest government-run hospital, as junior doctors stayed off work to protest a recent attack on some of them by relatives of a dead patient.
Even as the deaths occurred within a span of 18 hours, at least 35 scheduled surgeries were postponed and over 1,500 patients left PMCH to seek treatment at private hospitals, said sources. With the emergency and Out-Patient Department (OPD) services badly hit since the strike began on Thursday night, PMCH authorities also refused admission to dozens of patients who reached on Friday, they added.
State Health Minister Mangal Pandey, who had visited PMCH two days ago to look into rising complaints of medical negligence towards dengue patients, said 20 additional senior doctors were deployed at PMCH on an emergency basis. He denied that any deaths took place due to the junior doctors’ strike, but admitted that it “affected healthcare services significantly”.
Citing a “total lack of security” for doctors at PMCH, nearly 500 junior doctors went on strike, insisting that they would return to work only after “solid assurances” regarding safety were given to them. The relatives of a patient who died after a bout of dengue had attacked some of them on Thursday.
“Incidents of patients’ families and relatives turning violent are growing by the day at PMCH. In the absence of a safety mechanism for doctors, it is difficult to work,” said Vinay Kumar, President of Junior Doctors’ Association.
A delegation of junior doctors held a meeting with Health Minister at the Secretariat, where the minister assured them of making provisions for their safety. The medicos then returned to work at PMCH in the evening.