Doctors in government and private service went on strike from 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday, honouring the call given by the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors' Association, in protest against the killing of Tuticorin ESI doctor T. Sethulakshmi on Monday night.

About 16,000 government doctors from across the State are participating in the strike, including around 1,500 doctors from state-run medical colleges. The strike will continue till 7.30 a.m. on Thursday.

Emergency services continued to run throughout the State, representatives of TNGDA have said. According to the State Government Health Department sources, while the strike was on, efforts were being made to address emergency concerns at all state-run healthcare institutions and no patient who needed a life saving procedure was turned away.

Dr. Sethulakshmi was stabbed several times by Mahesh, an auto driver, after his wife, Nithya, who was under her care died on the way to a referral centre. The doctors’ strike will continue on Thursday, with a similar call being issued by the Indian Medical Association's Tamil Nadu State Branch, in protest against the same incident.

TNGDA State secretary P. Balakrishnan said the association had proposed to place five demands to the State government. The association and members of various chapters of the IMA will present their demands to district collectors at Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Dharmapuri and Kanyakumari on Thursday. Around 3,000 private hospitals in the State will go on strike from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dr. Balakrishnan added.

Their demands include immediate punishment of Mahesh; declaration by the government that all hospitals be protected by police stations in the nearby area; suspension of the police officer concerned who did not take “timely action” despite the complaint made by Dr. Sethulakshmi a couple of days prior to the incident; and halt of caesarean section surgery by doctors at PHCs, who have undergone compulsory six-month training in anaesthesia.

.