‘You hit, I quit’, ‘Here to serve, Not to suffer’ placards were held up, as protesting junior doctors from Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital raised slogans of “We want justice” sitting on the city’s roads. They are continuing their protest for the second day on Wednesday demanding that their issues be addressed, after two doctors were attacked by the relatives of a COVID-19 patient on Tuesday night.
Gandhi Hospital is the nodal centre for treatment of all coronavirus patients in Telangana. The state government has dedicated the hospital to solely deal with COVID-19 cases. As per a recent CMO statement, the hospital has the facility to treat 2,150 patients, which includes 1,000 beds with oxygen supply facility.
Meanwhile, due to the lack of junior doctors, nurses and assistant professors are covering COVID-19 patients in all the 10 wards since Tuesday evening, said sources from the hospital. For incubation and other processes that nurses are not allowed to perform on their own, they are now being helped by assistant professors.
On a regular day, junior doctors usually coordinate by calling up the Heads of Departments and other expert doctors to provide treatment to patients with the help of nurses.
As 150 junior doctors are on protest, the nurses are doing additional shifts and managing the situation, said a nurse from the hospital on condition of anonymity.
The junior doctors are demanding that either the Health Minister or the Chief Minister address them in person at the hospital regarding their demands.
Some of the demands from their official communication to the Health ministry include:
-- Deployment of paramilitary forces as suggested by the central government
-- Decentralisation of COVID-19 cases at various levels to prevent mounting pressure on a single hospital leading to the crumbling of already pathetic infrastructure
-- Immediate recruitment of manpower, including specialist doctors, broad speciality doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff, ward boys, patient care providers and others on permanent basis
-- Adequate provision of PPE kits, N95 masks to all healthcare workers at all public hospitals across the state
-- Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) member to be included in advisory committee to Health ministry to address problems faced by junior doctors
In their communication to the Health Minister, the junior doctors also mentioned the earlier attack on them: “On Tuesday evening at 7:30 junior resident doctors and house surgeons, senior resident and nursing staff were attacked by attendees of a patient. This is the second incident during this COVID-19 pandemic and many before which were not addressed.”
Following the incident on Tuesday night, Hyderabad City police said the two accused of assaulting the doctors were immediately arrested.
Police also put out a tweet warning stringent action against any attacks on medical staff.
2 accused who assaulted Doctor at Gandhi Hospital last night are arrested immediately after the incident. Under any circumstances attack on Medical staff will not be tolerated. Most firm and stringent legal action will be taken. In this time Doctors are our Frontline leaders.— Hyderabad City Police (@hydcitypolice) June 10, 2020