Junior doctors continue strike; AP govt denies death

Medicos demand hike in stipend

Driven against the wall due to the escalating number of deaths, the Andhra Pradesh government has deputed 800 serving and post graduate doctors to man the emergency services in the 10 major hospitals in the state as the striking junior doctors are in no mood to relent.

Emergency services remained crippled and wards looked deserted on Sunday. Five more patients died on Sunday, but the authorities termed it as “routine” deaths. While four patients died at a hospital in Kurnool, one critically ill patient succumbed at Warangal. As many as 44 patients have died since Friday night. However the junior doctors put the death toll to around 100.

About 3,000 junior doctors, who have been on strike for a month demanding a hike in stipend and reduction in compulsory service in rural areas, began the boycott of the emergency services from Friday evening.

The cabinet sub–committee Saturday held talks with the Joint Action Committee of junior doctors but failed to make any headway. The government appealed to the medicos to call off the strike while assuring consideration of their demands but the latter ruled out resuming their duties unless their demands were accepted.

Medical Education Minister Kondru Murali termed the demands of junior doctors as unjustified. “I have never seen students behaving in such a manner, they have been paid the best stipends in the country,” said Murali. Terming these reports of huge number of deaths as “untrue”, Murali said, “There is no major disruption to emergency services and no one died for want of medical attention. The reported deaths in the critical cases were natural, like any normal day in the hospitals.”

Challa Mohan Rao, Medical Superintendent of Guntur hospital and Dr Mahboob of Gandhi Hospital, one of the two major government hospitals in the state, also denied reports that there is a spurt in deaths. Meanwhile Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Sunday held a meeting with the cabinet sub–committee and reviewed the alternate arrangements to provide emergency services.

Meanwhile, in Kurnool General Hospital, where emergency services were partially hit, the striking doctors claimed the death toll had gone up to 17.

The Hospital Superintendent, however, said 10 to 20 deaths were par for the course in a hospital with a bed strength of 1,050 even on a normal day.

Services were paralyzed since Friday evening in Warangal M G M.Hospital. The hospital’s Resident Medical Officer said doctors from Kakatiya Medical College and Public Health Centreshave joined duty in the morning. In Kakinada Government General Hospital and Visakhapatnam King George Hospital, the patient care was not been affected much.

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