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Striking docs cock a snook at warning

Ranchi, Jan. 18: Health secretary Pradeep Kumar's warning that punitive action would be taken against the junior resident doctors of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) if they did not call off their strike by today had little impact on the protesters.

The junior doctors' indefinite strike entered the third day today even as services continued to be disrupted at the hospital.

According to reports, 29 patients have died till now while over 100 have been forced to leave RIMS due to the absence of proper treatment.

Though the services of 26 doctors from outside have been roped in, they could not fill the vacuum created by the absence of 400 junior doctors. Nurses also complained that they were facing difficulty in looking after the patients.

"We have to run behind the senior doctors as they are few in number and go home after sunset. The work pressure is too much to handle," a nurse said.

Family members of patients are equally distressed. "Doctors are not available round the clock at different units. They turn up only on call and immediately disappear," said Janamjay Singh of Latehar, who was seen sitting outside the casualty operation theatre.

Though complaints poured from the wards, the nurses at emergency unit gave a different picture.

"Services at emergency unit remained unaffected despite the strike. We attended to 40 patients in the emergency section today," a nurse said.

Director of health services Jintendra Kumar said efforts were on to ensure normal services.

"All departmental heads of RIMS have been instructed to take care of their wards. Doctors from outside are also being brought in. We had a discussion with the junior doctors this afternoon. They have been asked to join duty at the earliest," Kumar said.

However, RIMS superintendent I.B. Prasad and Indian Medical Association (IMA) secretary Prabhat Kumar looked worried this afternoon. They were noticed discussing the issue outside the administrative building of RIMS with Prabhat Kumar.

Meanwhile, the junior medicos remained busy holding meetings till late in the evening. However, they refused to divulge what would be their next course of action in the face of the warnings given by the health secretary.

"We are yet to arrive at a decision on our future programme. Hence, we will not be able to say anything right now," said Junior Doctors' Association spokesperson Kundan Kumar.

Yesterday, the health secretary had asked RIMS director N.N. Agarwal to take "necessary steps" to terminate the strike by today.

In a letter addressed to Agarwal, he also said that if the junior doctors did not withdraw the strike, the third-year post-graduate students, who are to appear in the final-year PG examination, will be barred from doing so.

He had further warned that Ranchi University too would be told to cancel the registration of doctors who do not resume work by today.source:telegraphindia

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