Healthcare crisis: Junior doctors’ protest claims another life

Mayo Hospital’s emergency ward opened as medics continue demo


Ali Ousat November 10, 2016
Doctors are holding protest demonstration against health department on call of YDA. PHOTO: PPI

LAHORE: Another life was lost to the callous attitude of junior doctors at Mayo Hospital in Lahore on Thursday, raising several questions about the behaviour of the protesting medics. Some senior professors of the hospital finally restored the emergency department after the death of two patients in two days.

Two-year-old Sana lost her life Monday morning as the junior doctors were still adamant on closing down the emergency and out-patient departments at Mayo. The Pakhtun girl, a resident of China Scheme, was brought to the hospital with severe burns.

A day earlier, 60-year-old Chaudhry Sadiq, a resident of Gawal Mandi, died of a severe heart attack at the Mayo Hospital emergency department.

A glimpse at the emergency ward depicted the plight of poor patients. The 2,200-bed hospital was deserted, with patients, several with life-threatening injuries, screaming and writhing in pain outside the hospital. The doctors locked the emergency doors and verbally abused the doctors who tried to attend to the patients. Some minor kids under treatment for burns at the children’s surgery emergency ward claimed they had not been attended to for two days.

By noon, however, the Mayo Hospital administration successfully restored the emergency ward functions but the patients were still reluctant to come there owing to the doctors’ apathetic behaviour.

Meanwhile, the emergency departments of Children, General and Jinnah hospitals seemed busier with a heavy influx of patients.

“I have been waiting here since the morning but there is extraordinary burden at the emergency department,” commented Arshad, who was at the emergency department of Children’s Hospital. “You can see there are hundreds of people but only a few doctors are available,” he added, demanding strict action against the protesting doctors.

Inside the YDA camp

At the Young Doctors Association (YDA) tent setup in front of the Chief Minister Secretariat, doctors chatted with friends, took selfies and gave statements to different reporters.

When asked about the deaths of patients, YDA spokesperson Dr Zafarullah termed them ‘unfortunate’ and added that was why the hospital administration was allowed to open the emergency department.

He claimed that 2,000 doctors of Mayo Hospital were with the YDA and delegations from different hospitals had also been visiting the camp to express their solidarity.

An insider, however, told The Express Tribune that about 80 doctors of Mayo were on strike while the rest of them were in favour of opening the emergency and other wards.

Later in the evening, the YDA also organised press conference and announced the Mayo Hospital emergency ward had been opened on humanitarian basis. The protest will, however, continue as the government was not interested in initiating negotiations with junior doctors.

Government in action

The hospital administration had on Wednesday given notices to the junior doctors, threatening them with dire consequences if they did not resume work. Dr ZafarUllah said none of the YDA doctors had received any termination letters.

When contacted Health Department spokesperson Akhlaq Ali Khan said the government would stick to its position.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2016.

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