Medical services in Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Post Graduate Institute (IGGGH&PGI) was paralysed when the staff resorted to a flash strike on Tuesday protesting against frequent attacks on the staff. The protesters sought adequate security for them while on duty.
Tension prevailed at the hospital for some time when doctors, nurses and other staff observed a sit-in strike and the out-patients who thronged the hospital resorted to a road blockade to protest against non-availability of treatment. The officials of the health administration and police, forced the patients to disperse and seek medical attention either in JIPMER or in Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Research Institute in Kadirkamam.
Tuesday’s strike was a sequel to the repeated incidents of intimidation, threats, abuse, assault and violence against the hospital staff, damaging hospital property and the incident that happened on Monday night in the casualty.
Hospital sources said that following the death of Balakumar (20) of Subrayapillaichatiram,the casualty staff were on the receiving end from the relatives. Balakumar allegedly attempted suicide by hanging on Monday evening and was brought to the hospital by relatives and friends. The duty doctor attended to the patient and informed the relatives that the youth was brought dead. In a fit of anger, Balsubramanian, his brother, complaining of delay in treatment, abused the doctor, broke chairs and window panes in the causality block.
Soon after the incident, Balasubramanian was arrested. Later his relatives created a ruckus inside the hospital campus leading to a mild lathi-charge. In the melee, woman sub-inspector Santhi sustained minor injuries. Senior officials of the health department and police held talks with them and resolved the issue.
Hospital authorities pointed out that this is not the first time that such an incident is happening there. “In the past one month two similar incidents took place. On last Saturday night, a patient with head injury was brought to the casualty. The attending doctor referred the patient to JIPMER as the CT scan developed snag. Following this, the relatives abused and threatened the doctor and were about to beat him up. The relatives of the patient also damaged chairs and blood pressure instrument. Earlier in the month, a staff nurse was slapped by the relatives of a patient suffering from cirrhosis of liver,” said hospital sources.
However, the strike had impacted the patients who waited in the OPD for the strike to be withdrawn.
The strike was withdrawn by noon after the authorities assured them that security would be tightened by enhancing the strength in the police outpost at the hospital. Currently, two constables would be in place and once the training for the newly recruited constables get over, the number would be enhanced. Moreover, the security in the hospital would be outsourced, authorities said.
The department would pursue to enact the legislation for health service persons and healthcare services institutions under Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property Act. The staff had made the demand for imposition of the act in Puducherry citing that the neighbouring states had already imposed it, said hospital authorities.
Leader of opposition V Vaithilingam who visited the hospital said that doctor and the hospital staff couldn’t offer best treatment when they fear safety to their lives.