NEW DELHI: Medical services remained paralysed in the national capital on Wednesday as resident doctors across government hospitals, including Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML), continued their indefinite strike in support of their various demands such as expediting the NEET-PG counselling process.
While the strike entered its 10th day on Wednesday, the patients at several government hospitals across Delhi faced the brunt of the strike and did not receive treatment.
Resident doctors of the Center-run RML, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge hospitals have been boycotting all routine and emergency services from Monday in support of a nationwide protest called by the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (Forda).
Beds in the emergency ward of Safdarjung Hospital remained vacant. While the junior doctors and senior resident doctors stayed away from work, the consultant doctors handled OPD, elective surgeries and emergencies.
The hospitals witnessed hundreds of patients looking to get emergency treatments being turned away. A 70-year-old patient who had come to Safdarjung Hospital could not get a doctor. A female patient from UP who had come to get a test done along with her husband after being diagnosed with cancer waited for two days. “The doctors were not there. We had no other option but to wait. We can’t afford private tests as we don’t have money,” said her husband Shyam Singh.
Several patients were also asked to move out of the hospitals immediately after being operated upon. Patients with bandages covering their heads were seen sitting outside hospitals.
The Forda has said that thousands of resident doctors will march to the health ministry if their demands are not met soon by the government. According to Dr Manik Seth, Resident Doctors’ Association president, Safdarjung Hospital: “It is very unfortunate that our justified demand for more manpower has been ignored. With the third wave and Omicron looming large, the doctors are under extreme pressure.”
Dr Seth said that during the second wave of Covid-19, the doctors were drained mentally and physically, the fact the authorities chose to ignore. “For any hospital the post-graduate doctors and senior resident doctors are the backbone. But since no counselling has happened and the first-year students have come in second year, they have been badly burdened by the patient load,” he said.
Dr Seth questioned the government and said how would the doctors tackle the situation if the third wave came. “How will they deal with the crisis with a depleted strength of doctors?” he asked.
He questioned further: “For two years they have been facing this trauma, but still being good professionals they have been treating patients. How much do you want to stretch them further?”