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Strike bug bites RIMS once again - Junior docs stop work after 14-day lull

Ranchi, Jan. 16: After a respite of only 14 days, uncertainty once again gripped Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) as 400 junior doctors went back to their indefinite strike from yesterday midnight.

The junior doctors took the protest path as the health secretary failed to keep his promise of fulfilling their demands.

Though senior doctors were present to run indoor and outdoor services, absence of junior doctors in different wards naturally made a difference in the medical institute that is going to be converted into a super-speciality centre.

Unconfirmed sources said around 50 patients left the hospital and 10 patients died today, as no doctor was available to attend to them. "Many patients are planning to leave the institute tomorrow," a RIMS official said.

Relatives of several patients were seen running from pillar to post to get medical advice from senior doctors, who were not easily available. Nurses had a tough time looking after so many patients.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, director (health services) Jitendra Singh convened a meeting at the conference room of the RIMS director and cancelled the leave of all doctors, nurses and staff members of RIMS. He also directed the heads of different departments to get ready for night shifts.

Apart from this, Singh also asked the civil surgeons of districts to spare some doctors for RIMS. Following the request, civil surgeon of Ranchi Geeta Kanth spared six doctors while doctors from other districts are likely to arrive by tomorrow.

Junior doctors, however, were in no mood to relent this time. They, under the banner of Junior Doctors' Associa tion, staged a dharna on the corridors near the RIMS director's chamber to mount pressure on the government to fulfil their demands.

"Health secretary Pradeep Kumar tried to fool us on January 1 when he said he would look into our demands. It was a mere ploy to make us end our strike. But he has not taken any concrete steps yet," said Jitendra Singh Munda, the president of Junior Doctors' Association.

RIMS superintendent I.B. Prasad, however, said that there was no impact of the strike on hospital services. "RIMS functioned normally. We provided outdoor services to 605 patients and admitted 10 new patients. We also carried out 19 major and 53 minor operations," he added.

Last time, the doctors had gone on an indefinite strike after being beaten up by the residents of Bariatu Bustee on December 27, 2008 over an accident on the hospital premises. The strike had continued for seven days.

The doctors called off the strike after Kumar promised to fulfil their seven-point charter of demands.

The demands included withdrawal of police cases against RIMS students and ensuring proper action against officer in charge of Bariatu police station Waquar Hussain and city police deputy superintendent Mahesh Paswan, who allegedly failed to protect the doctors while they were being assaulted.


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