Healthcare services at AIIMS in Delhi were hit today as routine surgeries were cancelled, out-patient clinics functioned partially and patients seeking OPD consultation were sent back due to a strike by resident doctors over an alleged assault on one of their colleagues by a senior doctor.
Only the emergency and ICU services functioned. Routine surgeries were cancelled and academic activities and exams were postponed indefinitely, an administration official said.
Announcing the indefinite strike yesterday, the resident doctors demanded the immediate suspension of the senior doctor, who heads a department at the premier institute.
The Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) has demanded that the senior doctor be not allowed to take in thesis candidates and conduct any verbal or written examination.
Today, the hospital administration put in place a contingency plan for patient-care services, as a part of which faculty-on-call in all clinical departments had to physically man the in-patient wards.
"OPD services will function on restricted basis till such a time normalcy is restored. Only follow-up patients with prior appointments will be registered in OPD. New patients OPD registration will be done as per availability of faculty in respective OPDs as decided by Head of Department/Unit concerned. No walk-in registration will be done," the administration said in an order.
Routine surgeries will remain suspended and only emergency cases will be taken up. Diagnostic services will function on a restricted basis, it stated.
"Head(s) of all clinical departments will make arrangements for round-the-clock availability of doctors of speciality concerned either from research staff or by the faculty members. Under no circumstances any inpatient ward will function without physical availability of doctors of speciality concerned," it stated.
The strike gave a hard time to patients who had to return without treatment from the premier hospital. Some of them were asked to visit the nearby Safdarjung hospital.
"I have come from Darbhanga (Bihar) to get my son treated but it was only after reaching here that I got to know about the strike. We will now have to wait for the strike to end as we...cannot leave just like that," Pawan Choubey said.
In a statement late last night, AIIMS said the incident over which the resident doctors called the strike happened on Wednesday, following which the senior doctor apologised.
As a mark of protest, the resident doctors worked wearing helmets yesterday and sought a written apology from the senior doctor.
In a letter to AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, the RDA alleged that the senior doctor slapped a senior resident in front of attendees, nursing staff and colleagues, and that the resident doctor was under depression and had gone home.
The RDA said an atmosphere of fear existed in the department headed by the senior doctor and nobody protested as the chief threatened to fail the junior doctors.