Five more patients died Sunday, as junior doctors of government-run hospitals in Andhra Pradesh continued their strike, demanding hike in stipend, but the hospital authorities termed it as "routine" deaths. Emergency services remained crippled across the state causing severe inconvenience to the patients.
With the talks between the government and striking medicos on Saturday night failing to achieve a breakthrough, the patients are having a harrowing time at 10 major hospitals.
The government maintains the five deaths Sunday were "routine" and had nothing to do with the strike.
About 3,000 junior doctors, who have been on strike for a month demanding a hike in stipend and reduction in compulsory service in rural areas, began the boycott of the emergency services from Friday evening.
The emergency wards at some hospitals wore a deserted look Sunday with the patients leaving for private hospitals. According to hospital officials, the inflow of new patients has also come down drastically.
The cabinet sub-committee Saturday held talks with the Joint Action Committee of junior doctors but failed to make any headway. The government appealed to the medicos to call off the strike while assuring consideration of their demands but the latter ruled out resuming duties unless their demands were accepted.
Medical education minister Kondru Murali termed the demands of junior doctors as unjustified. "I have never seen students behaving in such a manner," said Murali, who took over as the minister last week.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Sunday held a meeting with the cabinet sub-committee and reviewed the alternate arrangements to provide emergency services.
The health authorities have drafted senior doctors from other hospitals to the emergency wards of various specialties.