BENGALURU: Several private hospitals shut down their out patient departments (OPDs) on Monday, in support of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) call for a nationwide strike. Thousands of patients, who visited these hospitals, were left in the lurch as there were no doctors on call at these hospitals.
Most government hospitals, however, continued running as usual. The strike call is in support of Dr. Paribaha Mukherjee, a Kolkata based doctor who was attacked by the relatives of a deceased patient.
“I wanted to consult a doctor at Apollo Hospital who had operated on my knee earlier, but the OPD was shut so I went to the nearest private hospital and got my wounds treated at the emergency services section,” said Ravi Acharya, a retired education professional.
At Santosh Hospital in Frazer Town, Rizwana Sharieff, who brought her mother along for treatment, was not able to meet the doctors she usually consults. “We were unaware of the OPDs being shut. My mother had back pain and we needed to consult a doctor. Since the OPD was shut, we returned home,” she said.
Some of the prominent private hospitals that joined the strike included Sagar, Fortis, Manipal, Apollo and Ramiaiah Memorial. Some government hospitals also chose to shut down their OPDs including Victoria and Bowring hospitals. At Victoria, the resident doctors association gathered in protest outside the OPD while patients gathered. Similar scenes could be seen at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital as well.
Dr Sharon Fredrick, Hospital Surgeon at Victoria said, “The OPD’s had to be shut because the staff was less and most shifted to emergency services. For severe cases, we kept the OPD open, so it was partially open. Non-severe cases were asked to go to the emergency ward or return tomorrow.”
At the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, doctors who initially wanted to protest, were convinced to work with black badges. There was a silent protest for around 20 minutes after which everyone went back to work, Director Dr. C Ramachandra said.