The Assam government Saturday suspended 135 junior doctors from the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) after they refused to attend to patients.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the action against the doctors, who were doing their internship at the GMCH, was taken after they went on a wildcat strike Saturday morning. The protest was over an unruly scene after family members of a patient who died at the hospital accused doctors of negligence.
"The junior doctors were being debarred for their unprofessional attitude and have been asked to vacate their hostel rooms within 24 hours (by Monday)," the minister told IANS.
The striking doctors even refused to attend to the injured victims of Saturday's mob violence in Guwahati who were brought to the GMCH. One person was killed and more than 200 injured in clashes between tribal protestors and residents.
"Some 40 doctors were picked up by police and taken to a police station for resorting to the strike. There were about 150 junior doctors who were striking, but 15 of them withdrew their protest," Sarma said.
To meet the crisis of junior doctors at the GMCH, the authorities have decided to draft doctors from the medical colleges in Silchar and Dibrugarh, besides some from government hospitals here.
"The order to debar the junior doctors would be revoked only if they give a written assurance that they would agree to treat patients," the minister said.
The protesting doctors said they were "over-burdened" with patients at the GMCH. "We cannot allow the junior doctors to blackmail us and put the patients at risk," Sarma said. "How can they refuse to attend to patients...protests and demonstrations could be done through other means but not at the expense of patients."