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23 March 2017, 01:46 | Sue Hudson
Doctors protest against the attack on a resident doctor in Dhule Civil Hospital in Mumbai on Friday
Bombay High Court today came down heavily on over 4,500 resident doctors of Maharashtra who had gone on mass leave since March 20.
Over 4,000 doctors have been on "casual leave" to protest recent incidents, including in the Dhule Civil Hospital and Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Mumbai, where patients' relatives had attacked doctors.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that 4000 resident doctors across the state of Maharashtra had put down their pens and put their stethoscopes aside after a series of assaults were reported from various corners of the state.
The doctors said their first demand of allowing only two relatives with one patient should be implemented in all hospitals.
Over 280 doctors abstained from work, which partially affected the functioning of the state-run hospital.
While hearing the PIL, the court observed, "If doctors go on strike like factory men then they are unfit to be doctors."
When MARD lawyer Prashant Pophale told the court that there have been three incidents wherein relatives of patients have brutally beaten up doctors on duty, the chief justice termed it "madness" and wondered, "Why the public anarchy? But it is up to the resident doctors to take a decision over this proposal whether to resume the duty or remain away", a senior MARD official said. The BMC will seek additional armed forces, numbering around 500, from the Maharashtra State Security Force which will be deployed in various Mumbai hospitals, and entry points of each hospital would be designated for different types of patients.
Hearing a petition seeking action against the protesting doctors, filed by social activist Afak Mandaviya, a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni said the hospital management concerned should initiate action against the doctors. But every case can not be due to negligence.
However, the emergency health services, including taking care of accident patients, surgeries and providing post-operative care to those admitted in various hospitals, were being maintained by senior doctors, he said.
Implementation of Doctor Protection Act 2010 to avoid such instances in future. "Medicos can not take out time and energy for completing formalities if he or she lodges complaint", a resident doctor said. "This is where the problem begins", said a resident doctor, adding that each of the doctors has skipped work on individual basis as he or she doesn't feel safe to work after a series of attacks on doctors.
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