Medicos’ anti-reservation stir turn brutal on patients

12 May 2006 # ANI By Sudhakar, New Delhi:
As family members of Kaushalya Devi, 66, from Madnagir today reached All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), they were shocked to see the Hospital’s Emergency ward locked.

The resident doctors of the hospital protesting against the Government’s intention of reserving 27 percent seats for Other Backward Class students in higher education, had carried the lock-out of the Emergency ward, compelling the arriving patients to flee in distress.

Ferried in a wheel chair, Kaushalya Devi whose blood-pressure was running abnormally high mutely watched the agitating doctors with anxiety, as she was not the only one who had to bore the brunt by the agitating young doctors.

There were many like her. From Banwasti Devit, too an aged woman who was not admitted in-spite of suffering from chronic stomach pain, to Sonu, a 12-year-old child who was brought from Muzaafarpur by their parents but had to leave the hospital with his saline bottle still attached.

Both were given the same alibi by the doctors that “there was no one to check” them.

Sonu’s parents were advised to take their son to nearby Safdarjung Hospital, to which they have already declined.

“We had come here to get our son admitted in AIIMS, India’s premier Hospital, not to Safdurjung. If they are not bothered of my son’s health, I would be happy to take him to Muzaffarnagar, my home 150 kilometres away from where I had come with a hope,” said Sonu’s parents.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vinod the resident doctor leading the anti-reservation protest said, “We are protesting against the police action and the arrest of our two friends whose whereabouts are still unknown”.

In the midst of all the pandemonium neither Media Supervisor of AIIMS was present nor did the Medical Superintendent of the hospital speak on the authority’s plan to overcome the crisis in the hospital rising out of unavailability of doctors.

Indian Medical Association has announced that doctors too will join the strike from tomorrow.

Ironically, the agitating doctors indifferent of the arriving patients went on a roundabout marching inside the hospital premises, as an onlooker said: “Is there no law against the doctors if a person coming for emergency in the hospital dies after finding the ward locked”.

Quota strike: Patients bear brunt

CNN-IBN, May 13, 2006 New Delhi:

Even as hundreds of agitating medical students fought pitched street battle with Delhi police on Saturday, ailing patients in various Delhi hospitals bore the brunt.

With resident doctors calling for a 24-hour shutdown against the proposed quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in institutes of higher learning, there was nobody to attend to the patients.

The worst-hit hospitals were the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdurjang, Maulana Azad, Lok Nayak hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur hospital.

"There are no doctors even in the emergency room. We have come from far. What will we do now? If the government doesn't listen to us who will?" said an ailing patient outside the general ward at AIIMS hospital.

According to the sources, normally there are 12-15 resident doctors in the general ward.

However, Saturday being a holiday, the OPD was closed and no resident doctor was available even in the emergency ward.

However, a few senior faculty members were present in the hospital and were attending to the patients on a priority basis.

Condemening use of force by police against "peacefully demonstrating" medical students the Indian Medical Association had asked the doctors' associations of different medical colleges and affiliated hospitals in Delhi to go on a 24-hour strike with immediate effect.

Water cannons and tear gas were used on hundreds of medical students and resident doctors. Nearly 419 medical students were detained.

"The IMA is shocked to see how police force brutally handled a peaceful demonstration rally by Delhi medical students. Over 300 medial students have been arrested and lodged in different police stations," said IMA national president Sanjiv Malik.

Though no fresh arrests have been made, police have registered a case of rioting and unlawful assembly in prosecution of a common objective under section 147 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The doctors' association has now called for a "total medical bandh" in the Capital next Monday.

It has threatened that if the government fails to give a "patient hearing" to medical students who are agitating against reservation in elite institutions and failed to consider IMA's views on the matter, there would be a nationwide medical bandh on May 25.

"The IMA has already expressed its views that we should not be dividing the Indian society based on casteism any longer. Reservation based on casteism would only divide the society further based on castes," Malik said.

Alleging that move to extend quota system to higher education and professional learning was a retrograde step based on politics of vote bank, he said it would do away with merit.

Assuring full support to the agitating medical students, Malik said that the medical association was committed to the fact that downtrodden and under-privileged sections of the society need to be given augmented facilities to ensure they get a level playing field.

"However, the criteria needs to be based on economic inequalities rather than casteism," he added.

"The rest of the medial colleges will join the strike on Monday," he said claiming medical services would continue to remain affected by this bandh.