Maharashtra doctor strike: Medical Teachers' Association threatens mass resignation if demands are not fulfilled within 48 hours

Devyani Sultania
mumbai doctors strike

The Medical Teachers' Association on Thursday given an ultimatum of 48 hours to the Maharashtra government to fulfill their demands of better security at hospitals. The association has threatened mass resignation if their demands are not fulfilled within two days.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) in Mumbai earlier on Thursday and requested them to withdraw their strike immediately. He had previously said that the state government "will take strong legal action against those who attack doctors and will ensure doctors' security."

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Fadnavis said that the government would bear all medical expenses if any doctor is attacked on duty and that security would be provided to sensitive hospitals. Armed policemen would be deployed and a monitored CCTV network would be put in place, ANI reported. The chief minister also proposed that an apex council comprising government representatives and doctors be set up so that they can interact every three months and resolve issues.

The protesting doctors have demanded better security for them at hospitals and also a pass system which would allow not more than two relatives to remain with a patient inside the ward. Doctors have said that several relatives accompany patients to the hospital thereby putting pressure on them.

Bombay HC Order: 

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The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the resident doctors on strike to resume duty immediately and also instructed the Maharashtra government to provide security to all government hospitals in the state. The court also asked the doctors to give the government some time to provide them proper security.

The chief justice of the Bombay HC also ordered that no punitive action on suspension notices would be undertaken against the protesting doctors after they resume duty.  The court also said that the doctors can sort out their problems with the state government amicably. The matter will be heard again after 15 days.

MARD said that the resident doctors would meet once they receive the written orders from the court. Until then, "it's status quo." The agitation spread to Delhi as well with around 20,000 doctors in 40 hospitals going on a casual mass leave to show solidarity with doctors in Maharashtra. In total, nearly 40,000 doctors — from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and faculty members of the Medical Teachers' Association (MTA) — joined 4,000 colleagues, who are already on strike since four days to protest against attacks on doctors by the relatives of patients. However, emergency services continue to run without any interruption.

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The Bombay HC had earlier pulled up the doctors for protesting saying: "If you (doctors) do not want to work, then resign. You are not factory workers that you will resort to such protests. Shame on you. How can doctors behave in such a manner?"


Attack on female doctor at Sion Hospital:

The strike would have been called off had an assault on a doctor at Sion Hospital not taken place on Wednesday.

A female doctor of the Sion hospital was allegedly beaten up by the patients' relatives following which the doctor concerned lodged a complaint against three women for assaulting her. She was allegedly slapped and beaten up by a four-month-old girl's relatives for not providing proper medical treatment to the child, who was suffering from pneumonia. 

The doctors present at the hospital protested against the incident. The hospital authorities also called the police, who took the patient's mother into custody. The female doctor also lodged a complaint with the administration of the hospital. The mother and two other relatives were booked under IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).

AIIMS doctors turn up to work wearing helmets:

Around 1,200 doctors from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) turned up to work wearing helmets on Wednesday to show solidarity with the protesting doctors in Maharashtra. They also started a campaign called #SavetheSaviours demanding a safe working enviroment for doctors.

"Nobody has sympathy for resident doctors who are brutally beaten up. Neither has there been any discussion on providing compensations to such doctors. Instead harsh steps are being taken against them and they are being penalised," Vijay Gurjar, president of the Resident Doctors' Association at AIIMS, had said.

Patients suffer: 

Thousands of patients have been suffering as they bear the brunt of the strike which entered into its fourth day on Thursday.  

"I come from a poor family. Where should I go from here? If my child will die, what I will do?" a relative of one of the patients outside Sion Hospital told ANI.

"The doctors are on leave since Monday. There is no one to treat me. I am suffering from severe pain," one of the cancer patients from outside Mumbai said.

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