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Strike continues; Parallel OPDs set up in AIIMS

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 7 (UNI) As the strike by doctors and students in AIIMS against Director P Venugopal's ouster entered the third day, parallel OPDs were set up in the institute to provide succour to patients.

The OPD started functioning from 1030 hrs today and the striking doctors claimed that more than 650 patients had been attended to till the afternoon.

''Our fight is with the Government and Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss not with the patients.... We have always regretted the inconvenience caused to them hence we have set up the OPD,'' AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association president Dr Binod Patra told UNI.

He said all possible help will be extended to the patients and they will also try to arrange for some medicines.

Opposing the controversial decision, the AIIMS Faculty Association, Residents doctors and medical students of the premier institute are boycotting work and four medicos are on a fast unto death.

Rapid Action Force (RAF) force has been deployed in the institute after a clash between the striking doctors and police.

The doctors claimed that police was forcefully trying to evict them from the AIIMS premises and even acted in a high-handed manner with the protestors, including women. They also claimed that police tried to stop them from setting up the parallel OPS this morning.

''This has never happened in this institute... we have started a signature campaign against the police action on us. We will approach the President, the Prime Minister, National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women,'' Dr Patra said, ''This is the proof that the administration under Dr Ramadoss in AIIMS has collapsed. The Health Minister wants to make it the Anbumani Institute of Medical Sciences but we will not let him,'' he added.

AIIMS RDA member Kumar Harsh alleged that police was working at the behest of Union Health Secretary P K Hota.

''It has come to our knowledge that Mr Hota is managing the police.... we condemn this attitude of the police,'' he added.

Asserting that the strike will continue till Dr Venugopal is reinstated with ''dignity and honour'', the AIIMS RDA President said the efforts to maintain the autonomy of the institute will succeed.

The Faculty Association will hold its General Body Meeting this evening to review their decision. The Association has named the agitation-- ''Save AIIMS or AIIMS Bachao Andolan''.

AIIMS Faculty Association Vice president Dr Vinod Khaitan, Resident Doctors' Association president Dr Binod Patra, Students Union member Anamaya Sharma and Young Scientists' Association president R Prabhu began indefinite hunger strike yesterday morning.

Services in the hospital, including emergency and casualty, have been completely crippled. Patients bore the brunt of the strike and were either asked to return or go to alternative institutes. So far two patients-- Sarvesh Kumar and Ramjeet-- have allegedly died due to lack of treatment since Wednesday. However, AIIMS spokesperson Dr Shakti Gupta said the strike had nothing to do with Ramjeet's death who was being treated for the past one month in the hospital.

''He was attended to by doctors at the time of death.... He had cardiac arrest.... he died due to multiple organ failure. So there is no case of negligence or unattended death,'' he clarified.

Terminally ill Ramjeet (45), who had been under treatment at AIIMS for over a month, died yesterday allegedly due to lack of treatment.

''My father had brain tumour. He died today nobody came to help him... ,'' his son Mahavir alleged.

Another patient, Sarvesh Kumar (35), died on Wednesday night on the hospital premises allegedly due to lack of treatment.

He was brought to AIIMS in a critical condition by his brother but he was reportedly asked to return as the doctors were on strike.

Claiming that family members of the dead patients has no complaint with them, the striking doctors said the Health Minister was responsible for the situation in the institute.

''Dr Ramadoss has turned this research institute into a political hub because of his ego.... he is responsible for the deaths and the inconvenience caused to scores of other patients in AIIMS, '' Dr Patra said.

He said the strike will continue till Dr Venugopal is reinstated and Dr Ramadoss tenders his resignation.

''We will fight the decision. We want the autonomy of the institute to remain intact and the autocracy of the Health Minister to end,'' he said.

He said support was pouring in from all quarters for the AIIMS doctors.

The striking doctors and students said they will fight against the autocratic move of Dr Ramadoss 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,'' Dr Patra said.

Urging the Prime Minister to intervene, Dr Patra said the striking doctors and students have full faith in Dr 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.


UNI

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