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Viral protest worsens woes of patients

LAHORE, Jan 4: Most government hospitals in the province failed to provide services to the patients as a majority of doctors stayed away from duties on Friday.

Deployment of the police at the OPDs and admin blocks of the major hospitals presented a picture of emergency. Contrary to the figures senior health department officials fed to the chief minister, the deteriorating health services added to the public woes.

Only emergencies of the hospitals functioned on Friday but with thin presence of trained human resource. Information gleaned by this reporter said various teaching hospitals in the provincial capital postponed surgeries of the indoor patients as the young doctors had locked the operation theatres.

Punjab Institute of Cardiology Medical Superintendent Dr Javed called security staff at his office to make the patients and their attendants vacate it. A source said the attendants of some patients reached his office when young doctors did not allow their scheduled surgeries and other admin officials refused to address their complaints.

“I am not sitting here to accommodate your patients only as there are many other administrative issues of critical nature,” a witness quoted the MS as having said.

The MS’s unexpected response sparked agitation among the people who started raising slogans against Dr Javed. The security personnel forced them to leave the office. The MS did not attend calls despite repeated attempts by this reporter.

An official of the PIC said normally 10 to 12 surgeries were performed daily but only three operations were conducted in the last two days because of strike. He said as the OPD had been locked shortly after the strike call by the YDA, there were only three doctors at the 13-bed emergency to attend a large number of cardiac patients.

The patients faced similar situation at other teaching hospitals where the diagnostic facilities like X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, and operation theatres had been shut down.

Meanwhile, the General Cadre Doctors Association’s Punjab chapter announced that it would observe black day on Saturday (today) against “inhuman attitude” of the young doctors. According to a statement issued on Friday, the GCDA organised meetings at all government hospitals to condemn the manhandling of senior doctors and demanded that the young professionals seek public apology for misconduct in Gujranwala.

It resolved to give protection to all senior administrative and general cadre doctors and “teach a lesson to the young doctors in future for criminal assault on their senior colleagues at the state-run hospitals.”

The YDA leaders told the media at the Services Hospital that they were ready to end strike if the government withdrew FIRs and release their arrested colleagues in Gujranwala.

Dr Nasir Abbas said it was a conspiracy to create rift in medical professionals. He said the health secretary was creating hurdles in restoration of the suspended doctors, which forced some of their colleagues to agitate at Gujranwala’s DHQ hospital.