Doctors’ strike continues, govt to invoke ESMA

Doctors’ strike continues, govt to invoke ESMA
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Srinagar: Mymoona Gul, 26, is battling for life at Lal Ded Hospital after resident doctors there abandoned her in the middle of treatment in the post-operative ward. According to her family, Mymoona, a resident of Arampora Bandipora, was suffering from hypertension when doctors at District Hospital Bandipora referred her to LD Hospital after declaring her a “high-risk pregnancy case”.
“We shifted her to this hospital on Friday, after doctors at Bandipora expressed helplessness to manage her there. Once we reached here, her condition had already deteriorated. Doctors who examined her told us to wait for 24 hours till her blood pressure gets normal. Next day, she delivered a male baby but her condition turned worse after the surgery. No doctor was present in the post-operative ward to attend to her,” Mumtaza, her sister, told Kashmir Reader.
She said the family had to arrange many units of blood as the untrained staff in the ward kept letting the blood spoil and go to waste.
“My sister had high fever after the delivery. She also complained of acute diarrhoea after delivery, but doctors missed a morning dose of antibiotics on Tuesday, which worsened her condition. She is still in shock, unable to control her motions,” Mumtaza said.
Another patient from north Kashmir, Sumaya, told Kashmir Reader that doctors left her unattended after her stitches burst. “I am admitted here since June 17 because of some complications following the Caesarean section. Last week, the stitches on the incision opened and I felt pain in the belly. I was scheduled for fresh surgery this week but the doctors’ strike has delayed it,” she said.
At GB Pant Hospital, children were either sent back home or referred to SKIMS Bemina and SKIMS Soura for treatment.
“We only attend critical patients because there are only a few consultants on duty. The ICU has suffered the most in absence of resident doctors,” said an official.
The strike called by resident doctors of hospitals associated with GMC Srinagar began on Tuesday. Since then, patient care has been badly hit in hospitals across the city. Some attendants even alleged that avoidable deaths have taken place.
The striking doctors make up about 70 percent of the total strength of doctors in six government hospitals of Srinagar. Chaotic scenes were witnessed in these hospitals on Wednesday as resident doctors continued with their strike.
“Hundreds of surgeries and admissions were cancelled at LD Hospital today. The post-operative patients were left unattended by doctors for many hours,” said a senior nurse.
“We could manage only a few patients in the wards. Most of them were simple cases, while the complicated cases were referred to SKIMS Soura and SKIMS Bemina,” said another nurse posted at the General Ward.
Principal GMC Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid, said the strike was absolutely unjustified and warned that doctors will be terminated from service.
“We tried to convince them but they are adamant. The government has given them 7th Pay Commission grade in salaries, but they are asking for the moon,” she said.
Dr Rashid said that the striking doctors had submitted a letter calling it ‘mass resignation’, but it has only one signature. “The administration has decided to conduct walk-in interviews of doctors for Registrar posts. If the doctors won’t resume their duties, they will be terminated and fresh recruitments will be made,” she said.
The government has also decided to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to deal with the strike. A senior officer in the Health and Medical Education Department said, “The government can’t allow hapless patients to suffer. To ensure that there is no disruption of healthcare, it has been decided that ESMA would be invoked to deal with the strike called by the medicos.”
He added that ensuring adequate healthcare services has become more imperative in view of the flood alert sounded by the government due to inclement weather conditions.