LAHORE: At least 4,000 patients from all over Punjab were left unattended as out-patient departments (OPDs) of three major hospitals were closed after skirmishes between two factions of junior doctors in Lahore on Saturday.
Operations at three major hospitals including Mayo, Jinnah and Children were severely affected when the Young Doctors Association (YDA) group led by Dr Shehryar Niazi tried to shut down OPDs and other operational procedures but were stopped by the faction led by Dr Shoaib Khan Niazi.
Patients were the ultimate sufferers in the standoff between the junior doctors, who came to blows after exchanging abuses at Mayo Hospital. The patients were shocked at the scenes of the doctors hurling curses at each other.
“I cannot believe the educated class uses such language and physically abuses each other in this manner,” said Muhammad Ali, a resident of Shahdara.
When contacted, Dr Zafarullah Khan, the spokesman of the YDA group led by Dr Shehryar, said the group was to stage a peaceful protest outside the OPDs of the three hospitals when the other group attacked them.
He said since the hospital administration and the health secretary were also involved in the attack of the doctors, an FIR would be registered against them. “Unless the government withdraws the termination letter of Dr Shehryar and his associates, we will continue to protest,” Zafarullah added.
Dr Shoaib, the president of the rival faction, alleged Dr Shehryar’s group had forcibly tried to interrupt them when they were performing their duties at OPDs. “The administration tried to stop them which led to this mess, they [Dr Shehryar’s group] forcibly shut down OPDs of Mayo and other hospitals,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune.
The hospital administrations reopened the OPDs and began other operational procedures after a few hours.
“The hospitals have been affected since three days, if Dr Shehryar’s group has issues, they should go to court, why are they disturbing the functions of the hospitals?” Dr Shoaib asked.
Earlier this week, junior doctors had shut the OPD at Mayo Hospital to protest against the cancellation of the postgraduate residency of Dr Shaheryar and his fellow doctors.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2016.
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