In-patients bear the brunt of doctors’ strike

Special Correspondent
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Some of them got themselves discharged on Saturday

The government claims that the strike has not hit services in rural areas.
The government claims that the strike has not hit services in rural areas.

The strike by doctors and staff of the Department of Health and Family Welfare hit in-patients of hospitals on Saturday too. The dialysis unit in K.C. General Hospital, Malleswaram, which functioned on Friday, was shut down after water supply was stopped.

A senior administrator at the hospital told The Hindu that at least eight patients whose dialysis was scheduled on Saturday were referred to the Institute of Nephro Urology. The dialysis unit in K.C. General Hospital attends to 20 patients a day.

“Although we have outsourced the operations of this unit, we were forced to close it down on Saturday because of water shortage. We suspect someone has disconnected the hospital’s main line. We could not arrange for tanker supply either from private suppliers or the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board as today is a government holiday,” the administrator said.

“We are worried as dialysis patients cannot afford to miss the sessions. Also, it is difficult to arrange for dialysis at other government hospitals at a short notice because they have their regular patients,” the administrator said.

With cleaning of hospitals and preparation of food for patients also coming to a standstill in the wake of the Group D staff participating in the strike, some in-patients got themselves discharged on Saturday.

Of the 177 in-patients at K.C. General Hospital, 72 were discharged. The hospital continued to have skeletal staff (two doctors, three administrators and 32 nurses) to attend to emergencies on the second day of the strike. In Jayanagar General Hospital, eight patients were discharged.

Nagappa, a 74-year-old resident of Kumaraswamy Layout, admitted in the emergency ward of Jayanagar General Hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with high sugar and blood pressure was thankful to the ward boy for administering him the prescribed injection.

“If doctors have a problem, they should go to court, why are troubling us? I too worked as a government servant and retired 15 years ago but have never served people like this,” he said.

Ganesh, who works in flower shop at K.R. Market, said he wanted to get his sister discharged from the hospital. “As she has delivered through C-section on Friday, we are forced to stay here despite the lack of medical attention,” he said.

Meanwhile, M. Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, told The Hindu that he was open for discussions with the protesters. “As the decision to delink district hospitals from district medical colleges has to be taken by the Cabinet subcommittee set up to examine the issue, the department cannot do anything more. Such a decision cannot be taken overnight,” he said.

Health Director B.N. Dhanya Kumar said the strike had not affected medical services in rural areas.

“Our doctors at Sannasudhi Primary Health Centre in Khadakabhavi of Raibag taluk attended to 72 patients affected by an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the area. All the patients are doing well,” he said.

“I have spoken to all the district health officers and they informed me that the strike had not affected medical services,” Mr. Kumar added.

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