Within five days, a strike that started in West Bengal, has now spread to other cities with doctors from all over the country showing solidarity to the cause of protection of medical practitioners.
It all started on Monday at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital where a 74-year-old patient Mohammad Syeed passed away. The relatives of the deceased allegedly beat up the doctors blaming medical negligence for the death. The clash led to an intern getting a severe head injury.
Kolkata:Junior doctors at NRS Medical College&Hospital go on strike after doctors were allegedly attacked by a patient's family who died yesterday.Chandrima Bhattacharya,Health Min,says,"Emergency is open&talks are on.4 ppl have been arrested in connection with attack on doctors" pic.twitter.com/EU3HNJvfnV— ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2019
Following that, doctors at NRS refused to release Syeed's body, demanding an apology for the incident. This was followed by some relatives and local residents storming the hospital and pelting stones at junior doctors. Reportedly, five relatives of the deceased have been arrested after an FIR.
The incident led to a lot of outrage with people demanding safe working spaces for doctors. Apparently, the doctors are also wearing bandages and helmets as a way to protest.
Following the incident at NRS, a lot of junior doctors from different hospitals in West Bengal also joined the protest.
West Bengal: Doctors at North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri observe strike over violence against doctors at NRS Medical College & Hospital pic.twitter.com/qZvMkUEX0X— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
With Delhi Medical Association (DMA) declaring a Black Day yesterday, the protest also spread to Delhi with AIIMS Delhi joining in. The Indian Medical Association also urged doctors to wear a black badge as a way to protest.
Delhi: Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) prepare to observe strike over violence against doctors in West Bengal. pic.twitter.com/pza71njjum— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
Yesterday afternoon, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee issued a four-hour ultimatum to end the doctors' strike while visiting the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata. She was quoted as saying, “[Doctors who are protesting] are outsiders. The government will not support them in any way. I condemn doctors who have gone on strike. Policemen die in line of duty but the police don't go on a strike.”
She also said, “Medical services come under the Essential Services Act and the doctors cannot afford to do such protests. I don't understand medicine, but today I saw an accident victim lying without being attended to. He will die lying there because of the protest. Let good sense prevail or else we will be forced to take action.”
While her stand till now is still understandable, she did bring in BJP and called it a conspiracy. She said, “This strike is a BJP conspiracy. Protesters are disrupting medical services. This should end at once. All anti-social people of one particular community are doing this under police protection.” Really not the time for this, tbh.
While the strike is still continuing and doesn't seem to come to an end soon, there are two different narratives emerging. There are stories about how a lot of patients are suffering because the doctors aren't there to treat them.
Delhi: Patients face difficulties as Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of AIIMS is on strike today over violence against doctors in West Bengal. Relative of a patient says, "My mother's dialysis was scheduled for today, we were told to go & get it done from somewhere else," pic.twitter.com/sFVF6D8VMj— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
But, at the same time, there are a lot of posts about doctors wearing helmets and bandages as a symbol of protest while also treating patients.
Delhi: Members of Resident Doctors' Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) work wearing helmets & bandages, as a mark of protest against "worsening of violence against medical doctors in West Bengal." pic.twitter.com/Fgrv6Jtjdq— ANI (@ANI) June 13, 2019
People on Twitter are mostly standing with the doctors and respect their fight for safety while working. A lot of people have also brought up the fact that a lot of other patients are suffering and that's not fair.
This is what happened when 200 people came by trucks and attacked Doctors and interns at NRS Hospital. They thrashed an intern's skull bcz a 85 yrs old man died. It doesnt feel safe living in WB nowadays. It's a goon's era we are living in. The protest must go on. #standwithnrs pic.twitter.com/9WkqH2XHOI— Nabanita Das (@nabanita_speaks) June 11, 2019
Dear Doctors, I completely empathise with the fact that whatever happened in #NRS is deplorable & a strong protest is very valid but it's also true that making other patients, including small babies, suffer due for no to fault of theirs is also not something u can really justify— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) June 13, 2019
People are also calling out Mamata Banerjee.
Attack on doctors happened in NRS college bt CM Mamata Banerjee went to SSKM college. Instead of condemning attack, she is condeming strike and clng students outsider & politicaly motivated. She is okay with doctors getting killed in line of duty. Again vote bank. #BengalBurning— Pradeep Bhandari (@pradip103) June 13, 2019
A patient Mohammed Sayeed died in NRS Hospital in Bengal. Soon after that:
1. Hospital was attacked by a violent Mob of 200 People.
2. Rioters came in two lorries to attack the doctors.
3. Mob also pelted bricks.
Many injured. One Doctor is struggling for life. Pray for him.
As per the latest reports, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has announced a nationwide doctors' strike on June 17. The IMA said 3.5 lakh doctors will participate in the nationwide strike on Monday.
Watch this space for more update.