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LAHORE, Jan 24: The doctors left an elderly woman unattended in severe pain for at least four hours on Thursday at the gynae operation theatre of the Jinnah Hospital due to an ongoing strike of young doctors.

Only three planned surgeries were performed at the gynae operation theatre of Jinnah Hospital which is said to be the second ‘stronghold’ of young doctors after Services Hospital, an admin official told Dawn requesting anonymity. Usually, procedures of 10 to 12 gynae patients were done daily at the hospital, but surgeries were being postponed due to the influence of young doctors, he said.

He said senior doctors had recommended cervix biopsy procedure for 70-year-old patient Aysha Bibi of Mianwali and was put in the Thursday’s elective waiting list for surgery.

“A cervical biopsy is performed when cancer or dysplasia is suspected”, the admin official said.

Admitted at Gynae Unit-I, the patient was taken to the operation theatre on Thursday morning at 8am. She had an empty stomach since late on Wednesday night as per instructions of doctors.

The official said since young doctors had already left the operation theatre to observe the strike, senior medics also disappeared to show solidarity with their young colleagues after performing surgeries of three patients only leaving the poor elderly patient crying in pain.

“There is an underhand agreement between senior and young doctors that they will observe a three-hour ‘joint strike’ at indoor departments and operation theatres of Jinnah Hospital daily”, the admin official said.

He said the agreement was not meant for the OPD because the facility was being monitored closely by the authorities concerned.

After observing the strike as per agreement, he said, senior doctors returned to the OT after 12 noon and performed the biopsy procedure on the elderly patient.

Meanwhile, young doctors continued their strike at government teaching hospitals in protest against criminal and departmental action against their colleagues in the aftermath of the Gujranwala incident.

They attended patients at medical camps set up outside OPDs of hospitals on the same pattern of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who had observed similar agitation at his protest camp at Minar-i-Pakistan against the federal government for carrying out severe power loadshedding in Punjab.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said the protest camp of the chief minister during the last summer was a show of solidarity with the people against the worst loadshedding whereas young doctors were expressing solidarity with their few companions who violated the law at the cost of rights of thousands of patients.

He said that young doctors had not only disgraced the health profession but also damaged the national dignity and respect by torturing their seniors and denying treatment to patients.