New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) Maruti Sinha, a gynecologist at British-era Kasturba Hospital here says her son has qualified for a prestigious medical course, but she is not sure if she would be able to support his higher education under this strenuous circumstance.
Hit by unpaid salaries, doctors at North Corporation-run Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital and Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital say they are now battling financial and mental stress.
Sinha is a senior doctor at 450-bed Kasturba Hospital, which started as Victoria Zenana Hospital, and participated briefly at a joint protest organised by resident doctors of the three facilities at Jantar Mantar on Friday.
'We doctors don't want to go on strike,” she told PTI. “It is always the last resort.” “I am a permanent doctor and our association, the MCDA (Municipal Corporation Doctors' Association) had given a call for an indefinite strike from Monday if our demands are not met. At least the resident doctors got salary for July, we haven't got anything, and it is due for the last three months,' she said.
Sinha, a resident of Janakpuri area in west Delhi, belongs to a family of doctors. Her husband, her 28-year-old son Rahul and daughter Nayanika (26) are all doctors.
'My husband is a surgeon but his clinic has been affected by COVID-19. My daughter is a dentist and based in Singapore. My son has just qualified for MCh examination through NEET. He's hoping to get a government college through counselling as I won't be able to afford now his higher education if he gets to any private institution,' she lamented.
“The crisis of one generation is percolating to the next,” said Sinha, also the general secretary of MCDA, an association of senior permanent doctors of civic hospitals which was established in 1974, and has about 1200 members.
As the crisis over pending salaries of doctors of the civic-run hospitals in Delhi deepens, many medics have expressed their pains, saying they would bravely combat the pandemic situation and serve people but 'corona warriors can't march on empty stomach'.
K P Rewani, a doctor at civic-run Swami Dayanand Hospital and a member of MCDA, said 'Without salaries, all our life plans have come to a halt'.
'Our children's tuition fee, EMI, loan repayment, car loan, house loan, how do we pay these? Do clanging of utensils and showering of floral petals from helicopters feed your family,' he asked.
“They clapped for doctors, but with no salaries, it all rings hollow now.” R R Gautam, the president of the Municipal Corporation Doctors' Association (MCDA), said, society treats us as Gods, 'but, they should accept that we are humans'.
'As doctors, it is our solemn duty to serve humanity, and we will continue to do so. They call doctors as Covid warriors. But, how long will an army march on empty stomach. Soldiers stationed in inhospitable Siachin, will they be able to fight the adversaries without food supplies?' he asked.
Resident doctors of three North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals, also expressed their anguish, many unable to pay rents, and some 'digging into their savings' as a rescue measure.
Hindu Rao Hospital resident doctors were the first one to come out in the open for protest after 'being sick of their voices not being heard when they agitated online'. The facility till a couple of days ago was a dedicated COVID-19 facility.
'Are doctors superhumans? Do authorities just expect us to keep working with no salaries, and for how long. They asked people to clang 'thalis', and showered flowers from above on us. I feel all those gestures, feel hollow to us right now,' said Abhimanyu Sardana, president RDA of Hindu Rao Hospital. PTI KND TIR TIR TIR