Patients have been facing the heat of junior doctors’ protest in West Bengal as services remained affected in state-run hospitals and colleges for the sixth day on Sunday. At SSKM hospital in Kolkata, Raiganj-resident Samuel Haque, who was admitted with a cardiac problem, said he was uncertain about his treatment. His brother said, “We came to Kolkata last Sunday when everything was normal and the outpatient department was functioning. We admitted him on an emergency basis, with doctors giving date on Tuesday for check-up, following which the date of surgery was to be decided.” But now no doctor is attending to Haque, he said. Senior doctors say they don’t have enough hands to conduct tests, he said.
“His condition is deteriorating. We cannot take him home because it is very difficult for my brother to travel long distance in trains. We will wait till Monday.”
Services in emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many hospitals have been hit. The doctor’s strike began after two of their colleagues were assaulted at the NRS Medical College and Hospital by family members of a patient, who died on Monday night.
They demand adequate security. Hundreds of doctors have resigned en masse in support of their colleagues. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged the junior doctors to return to work and said her government had accepted their demands.
But the doctors have demanded a dialogue with the government before ending their stir. The strike has caused immense trouble for patients.
Joydeb Roy, a resident of Barishat in North 24 Parganas district, was admitted to R G Kar hospital in Kolkata with an injured leg.
A relative said he was referred to a government hospital, where he had to undergo surgery to place a metallic plate in his leg on an emergency-basis. He is waiting for the surgery.
“The senior doctors are saying they need help of junior doctors to conduct the surgery. My husband is lying in the department (ward) waiting for treatment,” Roy’s wife said.
Junior doctors are the mainstay of any state-run college-hospital.
Mokhtar Hussain’s family members are planning to return home in Basirhat. They have been waiting for two days at the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital for treatment to resume for Hussain, a cancer patient.
“I am suffering from high fever for seven days. I cannot bear the pain. But there is no doctor to carry out check-up. The OPD has been shut for two days and I cannot go anywhere else as things are the same there as well. I don’t know what to do. I cannot spend this much money to stay here in Kolkata. I will go back home,” he said.
Family members of the four-year-old Romita Dhar, a thalassaemia patient, too face a similar dilemma.
When Dhar’s family took her to Chittaranjan National Medical College and Hospital for check-up on Friday, they were told to come on Saturday.
“It is very difficult to travel with a child who is suffering from thalassaemia. I’ll again come next week,” her mother Arundhaty Roy said.
The patients admitted in government hospitals are also facing problems with pathological units not functioning as usual.
“We don’t have much money to afford treatment at private hospitals. I appeal to the chief minister to find a solution to this problem.
“Why cannot our chief minister come for a meeting with the doctors... They (junior doctors) have been saying they will end the stir if she comes to the NRS hospital for a meeting,” mother of Bastab Dasgupta, who suffers from neurological problem and is admitted at NRS Medical College and Hospital, said.