Friday, March 03, 2006

Doctors on strike in Bombay

Bombay has some of India's best medical colleges, and getting into medical college in Bombay is extremely competitive and difficult. However, working conditions can be hell for residents in these hospitals, and they have gone on strike. Doctors are supposed to be dedicated to saving their patients' lives, and the media is giving the striking doctors a hard time. The government is also being extremely unreasonable, and refuses to consider their legitimate demands. In fact, it has threatened to throw them out of their residency, which means their careers are in jeopardy. Who will blink first ?

Here's the resident's point of view.


26/2/6, 6.30 PM – Resident doctor assaulted by patient’s relatives for informing about a mandatory post-mortem.
27/2/6, 8.00 pm – Resident doctor manhandled by relatives on being asked to keep their chappals out of delivery room/labour room.
27/2/6, 11.30 pm – Resident doctors abused and threatened for life for denying an unindicated politically motivated admission to ward

‘Are doctors justified in going on strike?’ is a common question doing rounds these days. The most obvious response from everyone seems to be ‘Of course not, they must save patient’s lives!’

But the resident is a 25 year old who stays on call/duty 24X7, works 20 hours a day returns to a 10X10 room, shared amongst six other equally tired doctors, all fighting for the coveted two beds, the unlucky ones having to sleep on stretchers or on the table of Hostel Canteen or in the ward for want of space.

The unmarried ones are lucky; they fight for themselves, the married ones become gladiators for their families.

Here is a 30 year old who dares not marry for want of space, privacy, financial stability and time with extended duties reaching upto 36 hours at a stretch. He has no life beyond the confines of the hospital, stuck for months together in intensive care, not having seen daylight.

Nothing seems to be enough. Not that he has buried his face in his books since 10 years of age till date; not that he has passed from the best schools and colleges; not even the fact he has graduated from the top medical colleges to work in the best hospitals in India, away from the cozy comforts of his home.

He is told that he is the cream of the literate society. And here is the cream of your society being slapped on the face for working hard in a place where tempers fly high and emotions cross all limits; with inefficient security in the form of few guards who reach the scene after the harm is done.

We doctors, aren’t on strike to let our patient die; in fact we are on strike so that we can get protection for our life; a right which is the basis of democracy.

So here we are, having put everything in our lives at stake for the society and are now forced to put down our only asset – ‘our dignity’.

We are simply asking the authorities to make manhandling of medical professionals on duty a non-bailable offence

We are not looking for sympathy, we demand empathy for our cause. Can the society justify that these doctors, who save their lives, be taken by their collars by the mob?

We are literally wounding our souls to heal others, meanwhile being stripped of our dignity.

Just give us back our dignity to safeguard this special journey called life………"

Fair is fair - all they are asking for is decent working conditions. How can we continue to subject them to inhuman conditions, and then expect them to perform efficiently as doctors ? Even animals have better living conditions !

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