The members of Young Doctors Association (YDA) have upped their antics to catch the eyes of the authorities. Some members of the association from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Wednesday locked up the entire hospital after not getting any response from the government over a 24-hour deadline they had given on Tuesday.
The young doctors got together in the morning and locked up all the outpatient departments (OPDs) of the hospital, administration and accounts departments and stores till 2 pm and did not allow the staff, including the Pims executive director (ED), to work. They even marched towards the Children Hospital and Mother Child Health (MCH) Centre and forcefully stopped the work there.
However, services at the main emergency remain unaffected.
They also staged a sit-in in front of the administration department and demanded the government to immediately issue the final notification for their service structure, pay raise and regularisation of doctors on contract.
Paramedical staff, senior doctors, nursing and non-medical staff gathered with the YDA in the morning to show their support.
“It is really unfortunate. We had given a 24-hours ultimatum to the government and the Pims administration with the hope that they would address our demands but they don’t take our matters seriously,” said Dr Sajid Abbasi, president YDA Pims.
Healers become the villains
The patients continued to bear the brunt of the tussle between the doctors and the government. The entire Pims building, which on normal days is flooded with patients, gave a deserted look. Patients, coming from far-flung areas, were not getting any attention from the doctors so they decided to follow suit and staged a sit-in at the hospital, to “protest against the ‘protesting’ doctors”.
“What are we getting punished for; being poor, for spending our savings in trying to reach this place. They (doctors) want us to go back, they don’t have time for their patients,” said Musarat Jehan*, who had come all the way from Murree.
Nazia Bibi*, who had a breast surgery a few months back, comes every Wednesday from Muzafargarh for follow-up on her treatment. She was also turned away and told to return when her doctor was back on duty.
“I am a poor flood victim and have spent more than Rs7,000 in travel for my follow-up treatment but every time I come here they tell me that the doctors are not available. I am in extreme pain, I do not know where to go,” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
The patients who are under treatment in various wards of the hospital were also unsure about their fate, “since the doctors were spending more time on the roads,” according to a patient.
“We are scared that if the doctors’ issues are not resolved they might stop treating the patients,” said Muhammad Atif*, an attendant.
“If such a situation occurs, I do not know what I will do,” he said as he looked at his mother, who is under treatment at the hospital.
Shazia Bibi* said, “When I went out today to get medicines for my younger brother who is admitted in the medical ward, I was shocked to see doctors locking up the OPD gates and not allowing staff to get in. I am scared one day they would do this with us too.”
*Names of the patients and attendants have been changed
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.