Patients continued to suffer on Tuesday as the doctors’ strike against the killing of a cardiologist entered the second day. The patients decried the strike saying that they should not be punished for the doctor’s murder.
Umara Jan, a resident of Kohat attending a female appendicitis patient at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), said the patient could not be operated upon due to the ongoing strike. He said doctors have not visited the wards for the past two days causing patients to suffer and attendants to spend sleepless nights in the hospital’s chilly verandas.
Jan said thousands of patients should not be punished for the murder of one doctor. “How many policemen and soldiers have been killed over the past five years, should these institutions also go on strike to protest the killings?” Jan added.
Another attendant from Peshawar said his patient was scheduled for operation twice and is still awaiting surgery. He said his patient needs immediate treatment and the nurses can only do so much. He, however, refused to disclose his name, saying that after he attended a protest against doctors his picture was printed in the newspaper. “I fear that my patient will suffer if they know I said anything against the doctors,” he added.
Liaqat, a resident of Mardan, whose son is admitted at the orthopaedic ward for the past 10 days, said, “The doctors enjoy on the taxpayers’ expense but in return they have left us to die.” The doctors have no regard of the suffering of poor patients and are busy politicking over a murder, he added.
Another attendant, Fazl Khaliq, said while TV channels are busy covering the protest no one is paying attention to the plights of the patients. He said if the doctors felt it was necessary to go on strike, they should have observed a token strike instead. “This way they are only punishing poor patients and their families who have nothing to do with the murder,” he added.
The doctors had announced a three-day strike in all teaching hospitals of the province after the bullet-riddled body of a cardiologist, Dr Syed Jamal Shah, was found in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, on Sunday. The doctor was kidnapped two months back for ransom and the police have failed to trace the culprits.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012.