Patient care takes a huge hitApril 17, 2018
Hours before the indefinite strike by government doctors was called off on Monday, the scene in front of the General Hospital in the city was one of desperation.
Patients waited in long queues for doctors to attend to them as the strike entered the fourth day. The stir was called by government doctors, owing allegiance to the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA), in protest against the suspension of a doctor in Palakkad and the government move to commence evening outpatient (OP) clinics with the existing staff strength.
One such patient was 70-year-old Manichellamma from Venjaramoodu. She had reached the General Hospital on Monday with her husband at 6 a.m., only to wait in a queue that swelled as time passed by.
Five desks were arranged at the courtyard, with junior doctors and those on contract under the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), providing consultation for the long line of patients in each of those.
In addition, there was another long line in a separate corner as part of the weekly thyroid consultation. But the specialist outpatient services were not available for the fourth straight day.
“This is the second time that we are coming here, after the strike began. My husband has monthly consultation for his heart problem and I have pain on my joints, for which I am under medication. But our regular doctors are not available. Since we came here, we decided to consult the junior doctors anyway. They looked at my previous consultation documents and asked me whether I am having skin disease. So I thought it is better to wait till the strike ends,” says Manichellamma.
Rasiya Beevi from Vizhinjam also had been waiting since early morning to consult a doctor for her bone disease.
“Most of us who come here do so because we cannot afford the treatment in private hospitals. So, what can we do if even treatment in government hospitals is also denied to us? The doctors should also think about our plight before going on strike,” she said.
There were also many senior citizens and children affected with fever, among those waiting for treatment.