More patients die as docs continue strike

Toll reaches 12, UP medicos won’t budge

At least 12 patients have died so far for want of treatment in different parts of UP after a strike by doctors in protest against brutal police assault in Kanpur spread to other parts of the state, paralysing health services.

The striking doctors remained adamant on their demand for suspension of Kanpur district police chief Yashashvi Yadav and arrest of Samajwadi Party legislator Irfan Solanki, whose supporters allegedly assaulted doctors in the town on Friday, following an altercation.

Emergency health services remained affected in Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Allahabad and Gorakhpur medical colleges as doctors struck work and held demonstrations to press their demands. 

In Ghaziabad too, doctors were on strike. Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Ghaziabad unit president Anil Tomar said the decision to observe a strike was taken on the directions of the state unit. All out patient departments (OPDs) were suspended, but emergency services were operated on humanitarian grounds.

Three medical colleges - Santosh Medical College, Rama Medical College and Saraswati Medical College - and super specialty hospitals shut down their OPDs. He said there were rumours that a patient had succumbed to his injuries, but it was not due to the strike as all emergency services were available. 

The talks between the administration and the striking doctors in Kanpur broke down on Sunday night, following which police sent 24 doctors, who had been arrested for allegedly damaging vehicles and assaulting the MLA and his supporters, to jail.As many as 12 patients have so far died for want of treatment in different parts of the state following the strike.

Senior officials rushed to Kanpur to hold talks with the doctors and break the deadlock. They held meetings with the representatives of the doctors but the talks did not yield any positive result, reports said.

A delegation of the Indian Medical Association will meet President Paranab Mukherjee in Delhi on Tuesday and apprise him about police brutality on doctors in Kanpur, sources said. The trouble sparked off after the SP MLA reportedly intervened in a fight between a doctor and an old man in front of the hospital on Friday evening. A group of junior doctors allegedly thrashed the MLA, his gunners and also damaged his vehicle. The MLA suffered serious injuries on his head and other parts of his body, sources said. 

Later, the MLA’s supporters arrived there and a pitched battle ensued between the two sides, during which shots were also fired.

Police, which arrived at the scene a little later, allegedly chased the doctors inside the medical college campus and assaulted them after entering their hostels.

“Junior doctors are boycotting their duties to register their protest. We will hold a meeting to discuss the matter,” King George’s Medical University Medical Superintendent S N Shankhwar said.

Due to the agitation, patients coming from far flung places for treatment had to return home. The situation was reported to be worse in Gorakhpur, where private doctors on call of the Indian Medical Association local unit also joined the stir and closed down private nursing homes. 

“We have given a call for closure of private hospitals to support the junior doctors. If the demands are not met we can resort to indefinite closure,” IMA Gorakhpur unit president B N Gupta said.

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