Doctors launch strike after assault on colleague

Kolkata: A major clash erupted at the NRS Medical College and Hospital between junior doctors and relatives of a patient, after the 75-year-old died due to alleged negligence, on Monday night. Five relatives of the deceased patient have been arrested.

According to a source, Mohammed Shahid from Tangra was admitted to the hospital on Sunday as he had breathing and cardiac problems. At first, he was admitted to the general bed but later he was shifted to the cardiology department. It is alleged Sahid needed urgent medical treatment on Monday evening but despite his family members requested doctors to attend him no one showed up.

After a few minutes, a junior doctor arrived but before he could do anything Shahid died around 6:30pm. The family members of the patient allegedly assaulted the doctor and alleged that the death took place due to medical negligence.

When other junior doctors and interns came to know about the incident, they reportedly refused to issue the death certificate to the patient's family. On Tuesday evening, patients and their families put up road blockade in front of the hospital to protest against the doctors' strike because people who came to the hospital since morning did not get medical treatment.

A source informed that junior doctors sought an apology from the patient's party but the family members of the deceased patient did not agree to do so. Junior doctors alleged that there was a police outpost on hospital premises but, not a single police officer came up to help them. Situation turned worse when a huge mob reached NRS Hospital and allegedly started beating the junior doctors. It is alleged that when the mob was entering the hospital premises, the cops did not shut the hospital gates.

A huge police force from Entally police station arrived at the hospital after a few minutes.

At first, the cops tried to pacify the patient party and the junior doctors but eventually resorted to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control. A few junior doctors suffered injured during the clash.

One of the doctors Paribaha Mukherjee was hit on his head with a hard object, which resulted into a depressed fracture on his skull on the right frontal portion. He was primarily treated at the NRS Hospital and later shifted to Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, where he underwent a surgery on Tuesday afternoon. According to the doctors, his condition is stable.

Meanwhile, junior doctors of NRS hospital locked both the hospital gates and sat on a dharna demanding police protection. Despite repeated requests they refused to withdraw the protest. Junior doctors and interns of SSKM and MCH also resorted to cease-work raising safety concerns for doctors. Patients, who arrived at the hospital in the morning, requested the junior doctors to open the hospital gates but the doctors continued with their protest.

Later, a group of patients broke the lock and chains of hospital the gate and forcefully went inside. Despite the patients barged into the hospital, junior doctors continued with their dharna, which hampered the outdoor and emergency services. Several patients, who were waiting for the situation to turn normal, fell ill due to the heat.

Several altercations ensued between the relatives of patients and junior doctors due to the agitation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Minister of State (MoS) for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya, Director of Medical Education Pradip Mitra and Commissioner of Police (CP), Kolkata Anuj Sharma visited the NRS Hospital. Despite their assurances, the protestors refused to relent. "We assured them that adequate security will be provided to doctors. Commissioner of Police of Kolkata is here. We requested them to withdraw their dharna as patients were suffering. The injured junior doctor is being treated at the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata. The state government will bear his medical expenses," Bhattacharya said.

Kolkata Police has set up a investigation committee to probe the case of NRS Hospital clash which will be led by Joint Commissioner of Police (Jt. CP) of Special Task Force (STF) Subhankar Sinha Sarkar. After a detailed investigation, a report will be submitted stating the facts and identifying those involved the clash.

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