Bhubaneswar: The medical fraternity in Odisha joined their compatriots in the rest of the country Monday to protest violence against doctors.
Earlier, they went on a day’s strike Friday demanding safety for doctors in the country as part of nation-wide withdrawal of non-essential services.
At a press meet held here by the Indian Medical Association Bhubaneswar Chapter, the doctors condemned the attack in West Bengal. IMA Bhubaneswar president PK Mohapatra said that the IMA has been demanding a national law against hospital violence. The law should provide a minimum of seven years of imprisonment and any violence in the health sector a non-bailable offence. Hospitals should be declared safe zones and provision of appropriate security should be made the responsibility of the state.
AK Mishra, president of All Odisha Private Medical Establishment Forum, said that violence in hospitals will adversely affect patient care. Institutions will be reluctant to admit complicated cases and risky patients if violence against doctors is allowed to continue.
Odisha Medical Service Association (OMSA), Odisha Medical Teachers Association (OMTA), All Odisha Private Medical Establishment Forum (AOPMEF), Junior Doctors’ Association (JDA), Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA), Students Union and Medical Students Network have supported the strike.
While emergency and casualty services continued to function, all non-essential services including Out-Patient Departments were shut for 24 hours. As a result, patients were affected.
Arati Sahoo whose father suffered some chest problem Sunday night reached a private hospital here Monday but due to the doctors’ strike they were asked to come back Tuesday, she said.
At AIIMS Bhubaneswar, more than 300 resident doctors staged a sit-in demanding action. “There is a complete breakdown of law and order with reports of mob attacking doctors in West Bengal. The local government had failed to provide protection and justice to doctors,” said Bhupendra Gowda Anda, a doctor who took part in the protest.
He added, “In a democratic socialist structure, doctors do their duties in the interest of the state, but getting them to do it at gunpoint, threatening them, making them believe that the risk to your life is a non-negotiable occupational hazard is contradictory to work ethics.”
Pramod Meherda, Secretary, Health Department, Odisha, said that both strike and protest were peaceful in the state and no major problems were suffered by patients.