The strike and protest of Young Doctors Association (YDA) at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) continued into its fifth day, creating problems for patients coming from far-flung areas and those awaiting surgeries.
Services at the outpatient departments (OPDs) remained suspended and scheduled surgeries were not performed.
“We will only call off the strike when we will get a copy of the notification regarding our pay raise, service structure and regularisation of contract doctors,” Pims YDA Chairperson Dr Sajid Abbasi told The Express Tribune.
He was confident that their demands would be fulfilled in the coming week, as assured by the executive director of Pims.
Many dejected patients, fed up by the situation at Pims, moved to Polyclinic Hospital, the next largest government hospital in the capital.
Marium Bibi* brought her daughter to Pims for a scheduled caesarean on Monday. She came from a village near Murree for the procedure but was told to go back and return after the strike was over. “It was very difficult for me to take her to Polyclinic due to her condition, and to top it off, the taxi driver overcharged us because of CNG load shedding,” she said.
Polyclinic, on the other hand, was swamped with people. The passages were lined with patients sitting in long queue for hours, waiting for their turn. None of them wanted to make the long journey back home without seeing a doctor.
“My father is asthmatic. We came from Taxila and have been here since 9am, waiting for our turn. It is past noon now, and the humidity and congestion are making it difficult for him to stay here,” said Irfan Mehmood*. He said he did not want to go back without seeing a doctor.
The Polyclinic doctors found it hard too. Polyclinic Spokesperson Dr Sharif Astori noted a 25 to 30 per cent increase in the number of patients visiting OPDs since the strike at Pims started.
“Before the strike, 30 surgeries were conducted daily, but during the strike the number has risen past 50. The labour room is also overcrowded,” he said.
Astori said that doctors and staff in hospitals has been deputed according to the number of patients, but at times, when the number of patients visiting the hospital doubles, they face a shortage of doctors and staff.
*Names changed at patients’ request
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2011.