Gandhi hospital doctors go on strike after attack on colleague by relatives of a...

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Nearly 200 junior resident doctors of Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad are on a strike since Tuesday night protesting attack on one of their colleagues by the relatives of a coronavirus patient who died at the hospital, also the nodal centre for Covid-19 in Telangana. The doctors boycotted work on Wednesday and squatted on the hospital premises while raising slogans demanding protection and action against the culprits.

The doctors even refused an invitation to the state secretariat for talks by Andhra health minister Eatala Rajender, following which, the minister himself arrived at the hospital in the afternoon to meet the agitating doctors.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar said the police, immediately after the incident, arrested two people for the alleged assault on the doctors at the hospital.

“Under any circumstances, an attack on medical staff will not be tolerated. Most firm and stringent legal action will be taken. At this time doctors are our frontline leaders,” the commissioner said.

It all began with the death of a 55-year-old corona patient at around 7.30 pm on Tuesday at the hospital. According to the president of resident doctors association G Srinivas, the patient was asked not to leave the bed because he was suffering from hypertension and was on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

“But the patient went to the washroom, where he collapsed and died. When the doctors informed the attendants of the patient, they got agitated and attacked a medico with a stool and an iron stand,” Srinivas told reporters.

The HT Guide to Coronavirus COVID-19

The attack sparked off protests from the junior resident doctors who staged a demonstration outside the hospital till past midnight. They raised slogans like “we want justice” and “we are here to serve, not to suffer.”

The doctors demanded deployment of a special protection force at the ICU and on all floors of the hospital. They also demanded that some Covid-19 cases be shifted to other hospitals to relieve pressure from Gandhi Hospital, which, they claimed, didn’t have sufficient infrastructure.

Their other demands include recruitment of additional manpower, namely specialists, broad speciality doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff, ward boys, patient care providers and others on a permanent basis. They also sought an adequate number of PPE kits and N95 masks for all healthcare workers at all public hospitals across the state while threatening to boycott work till the resolution of the issues raised.

This was the second such incident at the Gandhi Hospital and the fourth one at government-run hospitals in Telangana since the outbreak of Covid-19. A doctor at the Gandhi Hospital was assaulted on April 1 by relatives of a Covid-19 patient following his death. On April 14, another doctor was attacked by relatives of a patient at the Osmania General Hospital.

Also Read: Bihar government dismisses 11 doctors for being absent from duty

On March 24, a woman doctor was allegedly manhandled by a police official in Telangana’s Khammam during lockdown. She alleged that the police official seized her ID card along with her phone and pulled her by her hair. The police department had later tendered an unconditional apology to her.

On March 29, relatives of a 62-year-old man who died of heart attack at the Government General Hospital (GGH) in Nizamabad, allegedly assaulted the hospital staff, who tried to shift him to Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad as they suspected him to be a Covid-19 patient.

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