Bombay HC asks protesting doctors to resume duty immediately

Doctor Rohit Kumar Jain

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni were hearing a public interest litigation filed by social activist Afak Mandaviya seeking that doctors be restrained from going on strike.

Mumbai: After being rapped by the Bombay High Court, almost 3,000 resident doctors from 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra made a decision to withdraw their mass casual leave agitation with immediate effect, a doctors' body said on Tuesday. "Patients are facing severe hardships after doctors had gone on strike".

Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has urged resident doctors to call off their strike as soon as possible failing which action will be taken against them.

The doctors said their first demand of allowing only two relatives with one patient should be implemented in all hospitals.

With this, the Bombay High Court ordered the striking resident doctors to join work or face action by the management.

Speaking to ToI, representatives of resident doctors said that they would hold a meeting with the GMCH authorities on Wednesday to discuss their demands.

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A post graduate student, who is also a training doctor at Sion Hospital, was attacked on Saturday by relatives of a 60-year-old, who died during treatment. Following the protest by doctors, police arrested the 7 to 8 accused allegedly involved in the case. "We have already asked security guards to restrict the number of visitors per patient to two but it has not been easy to do so", he said.

In the absence of concrete measures by the government to provide security, the resident doctors are likely to go on mass leave for a second day on March 21, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors said.

After the Bombay High Court issued the order, Naresh Kabra, a resident doctor at Sion Hospital present at the hearing, said, "We are not super humans either". The court while posting the matter for tomorrow directed the doctors to resume duties immediately.

The court came down heavily on the doctors and compared them to "factory workers" for launching the agitation that has nearly paralysed public healthcare system in India's second biggest state.

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.

"There can be some cases of negligence by doctors but mistakes may occur due to allergy, reactions, but every case cannot be negligence".

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