4 medicos on hunger strike; Work boycott in MAMC, UCMA, LHMC
New Delhi, July 6 (UNI) As resident doctors and students of three medical colleges boycotted work in protest against AIIMS Director Venugopal's dismissal, four medicos at the premier institute began a fast unto death till the controversial decision is revoked.
AIIMS Faculty Association Member Dr Vinod Khaitan, Resident Doctors' Association President Dr Binod Patra, Students Union member Anamaya Sharma and Young Scientists' Association Member R Prabhu began indefinite hunger strike this morning.
They are demanding that Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss resigns and Dr Venugopal is reinstated.
''We will fight the decision. We want the autonomy of the institute to remain intact and the autocracy of the Health Minister to end,'' AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association President Binod Patra told UNI.
He said Dr Venugopal must be reinstated with dignity and honour.
Resident doctors and students of Maulana Azad Medical college, University College of Medical Sciences and Lady Hardinge Medical College also boycotted work today against the controversial decision.
Services in Out Patient Department (OPD) in the hospitals were crippled and patients were asked to return or go to alternative hospitals.
However, emergency and casualty were functional in the hospitals.
The doctors and students of MAMC, UCMA and Lady Hardinge Medical College are on strike for 24 hours. The AIIMS Employees Union has also joined the striking doctors.
''The doctors of the three colleges have come out in our support and they are on strike for the 24 hours,'' Dr Patra said.
Reiterating that AIIMS Doctors will continue the strike till Dr Venugopal is reinstated, he said support was pouring in from all quarters.
''Our demands of reinstating Dr Venugopal and the resignation of the Union Health Minister stand.... We will continue till then,'' he added Services in AIIMS, including emergency and casualty, remained paralysed due to the strike by the AIIMS Faculty Association, Resident Doctors' Association and the medical students.
A critically ill patient, who was not admitted to the AIIMS emergency ward, died last night on the hospital premises allegedly due to lack of treatment.
Sarvesh Kumar (35), a resident of Farukabad, was brought in critical condition to AIIMS by his brother but he was reportedly asked to return as the doctors were on strike.
The AIIMS striking doctors had held the Union Health Minister responsible for the patient's death.
''We are sorry for the patient's death. We had time and again requested the Prime Minister's office to intervene and stop Dr Ramadoss from taking today's decision. We had also informed the PMO that we will be forced to go on agitation if Dr Venugopal is dismissed,'' Dr Patra said.
''Dr Ramadoss is responsible for the medical lock-out today and the patients are paying for his autocratic takeover of AIIMS,'' he added.
Heavy security has been deployed at AIIMS.
The AIIMS Faculty Association, which is on a 24-hour work boycott since last evening, will review the situation at its General Body Meeting this evening.
''The faculty is with Dr Venugopal... we demand that he be reinstated and an apology from Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss,'' a senior Faculty Association Member said.
The striking doctors and students said they will fight against the autocratic move and will not accept any other person in Dr Venugopal's place.
''We will not let any other person function in place of Dr Venugopal... this decision is not acceptable to us,'' he added.
Urging the Prime Minister to intervene, Dr Patra said the striking doctors and students have full faith in Dr Manmohan Singh to resolve the issue.
''We urged him to take over the functioning of the institute and let it function as an autonomous institute,'' he added.
Dr Venugopal was dismissed yesterday by the institute's Governing Body, headed by the Union Health Minister, for violating the code of conduct of the premier institute.
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