For the second consecutive day on Tuesday medical services in 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra, including four in Mumbai, were hit when over 3,000 resident doctors continued their mass Casual Leave protest against growing incidents of attacks by patients' relatives.
In the absence of any concrete measures by the government pertaining to their security, the resident doctors continued the mass Casual Leave for the second day, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) Swapnil Meshram said.
A public interest writ petition was filed on Monday in Bombay High Court against the doctors' agitation by a social activist which is expected to be heard later Tuesday.
There have been at least five attacks on resident doctors in one week, including two in the past 48 hours, said Indian Medical Association (Youth) state President Sagar Mundada.
On Monday, MARD office-bearers met Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced some tough measures to curb violence against medicos, including limiting the number of relatives who will be permitted to accompany patients.
Henceforth, only two relatives of any patient shall be permitted with special passes and those found without the valid passes shall be prosecuted, said Additional Municipal Commissioner I.A. Kundan.
The decision was taken at a high-level comprising civic officials, representatives of civic hospitals and BMC chief security officer Ramesh Pawar on Monday evening.
While assuring that it was the duty of the civic body to ensure security, Mahadeshwar appealed to the 4,000-plus medicos on casual leave (on Monday) to resume duties or BMC would consider initiating disciplinary action.
The BMC will seek additional armed forces, numbering around 500, from the Maharashtra State Security Force which will be deployed in various Mumbai hospitals, and entry points of each hospital would be designated for different types of patients.
MARD President Yashowardhan Kabra said the sudden spate of attacks on medicos have left them shattered and "it was difficult to work under such life-threatening conditions".
In Mumbai, the government hospitals hit are KEM, Sion LTMG, Nair and Sir JJ Group where a large number of resident doctors work.
Several thousands of patients were deprived of medicare though senior doctors and others handled serious or emergency cases, but an estimated 400 scheduled surgeries had to be postponed on Monday.