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RIMS impasse on, patients leave - Govt warns doctors of stern action

Pic: A patient being carried away at RIMS in Ranchi on Monday.

Ranchi, Dec. 29, 2008: The stalemate at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) continued for the third consecutive day with junior doctors refusing to join duty till their demands were met.

This, even after the state government issued a warning that action would be taken against the agitating doctors under Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) if they persisted with the strike. The Junior Doctors' Association is protesting against the attack on them by Bariatu bustee dwellers after a road accident on Saturday.

The patients continued to bear the brunt of the crisis. According to reports, three more persons died at RIMS today. They are Sufal Mahto (22), a victim of Tamar bomb blast, Shivshanker Ojha (24), who suffered a bullet injury at Bhurkunda in Ramgarh, and Shaligram Yadav, a victim of road accident in Giridih.

The number of indoor patients also went down. While the total number of patients at the hospital was 1,135 on Saturday, a rough survey pegged the figure at just 552 today. Sources supported the facts, saying more than 250 patients left the institute in the past 24 hours. However, RIMS superintendent I.B. Prasad refused to confirm anything.

Meanwhile, bracing for more difficult times, health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi has directed the health secretary, Pradeep Kumar, to cancel leaves of regular doctors and to deploy 60 regular and contract doctors from Sadar hospital and primary health centres of the state.

Further, the minister has asked the 15 doctors deputed at health directorate to extend their service to RIMS in three shifts. Following the direction, a team of 18 doctors from Sadar hospital rushed to RIMS while the rest will come by tomorrow.

Sahi also convened a meeting of senior doctors of the state at RIMS and empowered Kumar to take proper legal action, including imposition of ESMA, against the agitating doctors. He, however, claimed the situation was being brought under control. He said more than 600 patients were attended at the outdoor department and 14 new patients were admitted by the emergency department today.

Sahi stressed that the government would not buckle under the pressure being mounted by the junior doctors. He also threatened them with dire consequences in case of non-withdrawal of the strike immediately.

But, the junior doctors are in no mood to relent either. They reiterated that Saturday's organised attack on them in the presence of police officials had raised questions about their security.

Their resolve became stronger after reports poured in that the condition of Dharmendra Mohan Prasad, a doctor who was assaulted on Saturday, was still serious.

The doctors are demanding the dismissal of officer-in-charge of Bariatu police station Waquar Hussain and city deputy police superintendent Mahesh Paswan.

They alleged that the duo played the role of mute spectators while the mob from Bariatu bustee entered the RIMS campus and kept on attacking them for more than two hours. Source:telegraphindia.com

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