Over 200 surgeries put off as strike cripples services

More than 200 routine surgeries were postponed at the two hospitals and many patients who came to the OPD to seek treatment had to go back.

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NEW DELHI: Health services were severely affected at Lok Nayak and Safdarjung hospitals on Tuesday because of a strike called by resident doctors.

More than 200 routine surgeries were postponed at the two hospitals and many patients who came to the OPD to seek treatment had to go back. “I came all the way from Aligarh with my ailing mother. She has been running high fever and vomiting incessantly. But the doctors are not willing to admit her even in the emergency,” said Pawan Kumar, one of the attendants at Lok Nayak Hospital. Some patients admitted in the hospital said they have been told to get discharged or wait for surgery till the strike is over.

While doctors at Lok Nayak are protesting against the assault on two colleagues by a patient’s attendants, those in Safdarjung are demanding an increase in the number of postgraduate seats in Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, which is associated with it.

Safdarjung Hospital’s sports injury centre conducts 13-14 surgeries daily, but only one patient was operated upon on Wednesday. Resident doctors’ associations at both the hospitals said the strike will continue on Thursday if their demands were not met.

“We met the principal secretary (health) and health minister Satyendar Jain. They gave assurances about increasing security personnel but no timeline for the same has been given,” Dr Ankur Sharma, general secretary of Lok Nayak Hospital’s resident doctors’ association said. On Tuesday, the attendants of a patient had assaulted two resident doctors at the hospital who sustained serious injuries.

Dr J C Passey, medical director of Lok Nayak, issued a circular following the strike call on Tuesday, informing heads of all departments to make arrangements to run OPD and indoor, while elective OT services will remain suspended till further orders. “The residents on strike are, however, available for emergency services,” the circular said. Dr Vivek Chouksey, president, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association of India, has said if the demands for more security were not met in 48 hours, they will shut down healthcare services across the city.

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